Just as in literature, motherhood is a popular theme in film. Granted, many of those portrayals of mothers are not flattering. Some mothers are portrayed as deeply wounded (Amanda in The Glass Menagerie). Others are deeply disturbed (Mommie Dearest).
Here is my personal list of great film Moms. Granted, they all fit what I suppose is a traditional view of motherhood. But each in her own way reflects a level of strength found in a humble way in many of the mothers I have known, including my own mother and my wife.
Here are some clips that reflect those mothers of film that have deeply touched me:
A Raisin in the Sun tells the story of an African-American family trying to grow and prosper, to include integrating a white neighborhood. The great Claudia McNeil (who should have been nominated for an Oscar for her performance) is the matriach of this family as she struggles to help them stay focused on a strong set of values. After tragedy strikes, she confronts her daughter:
How Green Was My Valley is set in Wales (homeland of my grandmother) and tells the story of the Morgan family. Towering as a figure of strength is Beth, played by Sara Allgood. She negotiates the joys and pains of life (death, sons leaving) with great strength and faith. In this scene, she has recovered from nearly freezing to death and reconnects with her youngest son and then with her other sons who had moved out after a conflict with Mr. Morgan. Her love of family fills the screen
Sounder tells the story of an Depression-era family of the South faced with an unjust imprisonment of the father. Rebecca plays the family’s mother as she struggles to survive and maintain hope. Cicely Tyson plays Rebecca in one her greatest of many great performances (sorry I couldn’t find a clip. The preview gives you a good overview and includes one particularly moving scene
Finally, my personal favorite film Mom is Ma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath. In a film that is actually quite timely, Jane Darwell gives an Oscar-winning portraal as the mother of the Joad family. She tries to keep them together as they migrate West to find work and through it all endures loss as well as fear and hunger. At the end in this scene, she sums up the philosophies of all great Moms of strength:
By all means, please feel free to comment on your own favorite film Moms!