Though it pains me to use a movie with Josh Duhamel (and worse, Katherine Heigl) as a theme driver for two weeks of "five best," I promised we would look at the five best films about motherhood this week. Thursday, October 7 is the due date for our son, so lets hope this list is a bright spot in the pain that will eventually come to my poor wife to bring our child into the world. So, here they are, in chronological order, the five best movies about being a mom.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="209" caption="Faye Dunaway in "Mommie Dearest" courtesy of farm4.static.flickr.com"][/caption]
Mommie Dearest (1981)
The campiest film on our list is still fantastic to watch. Dunaway's performance as an incredibly unhinged Joan Crawford is just a blast on screen. Based on the memoirs of Crawford's adopted daughter Christina, it depicts her abusive and traumatic upbringing at the hands of the screen legend. It's not really a great film, but it's so ridiculous and over the top, it's totally worth your time. Trust me - you'll never use wire hangers again.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="247" caption="Scene from "Terms of Endearment" courtesy of mos.totalfilm.com"][/caption]
Terms of Endearment (1983)
This movie will wreck your entire day. Or week. Possibly, your movie watching experience altogether. But the 1983 Best Picture winner is still a touching portrait of being a mother, daughter, and child. James L. Brooks directed this weep-fest starring Debra Winger, Shirley MacLaine, and Jack Nicholson. It's a long, sweeping story of estrogen-fueled life, but it really hits home on relationships and dealing with pain as a family.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="159" caption="Cher and Eric Stoltz in "Mask" courtesy of rotatingcorpse.com"][/caption]
Few movies have shown a mother's true unconditional love the way Peter Bogdanovich's fascinating tale of a biker mom and her facially deformed son does. Cher plays mother to a disfigured Eric Stoltz as they try to live a normal life in a situation that is anything but normal. Cher does a wonderful job in her portrayal of a single woman balancing a wild lifestyle with a heartfelt approach to motherhood. All she wants is for her son to experience the life he deserves, even if it means she misses out.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="255" caption="Scene from "Little Women" courtesy of stardusttrailers.com"][/caption]
Little Women (1994)
In the best adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, Susan Sarandon plays Marmie, mother to four daughters forced to care for them as her husband is away at war. When you have daughters this well behaved, motherhood may seem like a walk in the park. But she watches her girls grow up, fall in love, fall out of love, and wish for happier days. It's not that they are co-dependent; it's just that they know nothing else.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Angelina Jolie in "Changeling" courtesy of screentrek.com"][/caption]
I've mentioned before that I don't care for Angelina Jolie. But, in this Clint Eastwood picture, she gives a grade A performance as a mother who speaks up in a time when women are nothing but housewives and maids. After her son disappears, the police hand her another child, whom she maintains is not hers. This leads to a gripping story with mysterious undertones and equally great performances from John Malkovich and Jeffrey Donovan. Any mother knows her own son - why do they even try to fool her?
So, cheers to all mothers out there. Thanks to all the moms in my life and especially thank you to my wife, who's going to make a wonderful mommy soon.