WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!
1. Norma Bates-Psycho (1960) Oh you’ve all seen it right? Not exactly cuddly Mother’s Day material but rather a chilly indictment of motherly smothering, Alfred Hitchcock’s signature film examines with chilly precision the Oedipal relationship between mothers and sons and the psychological dependence that is the flipside, as Norman Bates (played by the late, great Anthony Perkins) channels his dead mother’s character out of guilt for having murdered her years previously. All this and she never even appears on screen (bar that scene in the fruit cellar).
Most Motherly Moment: There’s something sweet about Norman’s assertion that “A boys best friend is his mother.” Creepy but sweet…
2. Laura-The Orphanage (2007) Spanish director Juan Bayona’s excellent gothic horror is a genuinely frightening ghost story that sends a cold chill down your spine by not only tapping into the unconscious fear of children that we all have, but also playing up the tragic lengths to which some mothers will go to protect their loved ones. Laura (excellently played by Spanish actress Belen Rueda) returns to the orphanage where she grew up, only to be convinced that the ghosts of her former playmates have kidnapped her son.
Most Motherly Moment: Driven to the point of madness in her efforts to lure the ghosts out, Laura indulges them by playing their favourite game. It’ll make you think twice about playing knock-on-door-run ever again.
3. Mrs Incredible-The Incredibles (2004) Helen Parr is just your average, slightly harassed mother who balances the demands of her three kids with her man-child husband. Except Helen Parr (voiced by the warmly southern Holly Hunter) is no ordinary mother but Elastigirl, crime fighter extraordinaire, and the matriarch in Brad Bird’s superlative animated adventure of a family of superheroes. The moral centre of the piece, she’s the rock that all good mothers should provide.
Most Motherly Moment: Flying a high powered jet to rescue her husband from an island held by a criminal mastermind while simultaneously arranging for a baby sitter sums her up nicely.
4. Ellen Ripley-Aliens (1986) One does have to doubt the motherly suitability of Sigourney Weaver’s gritty heroine- you can’t really imagine her sewing names on socks or attending a school play. But when it comes to battling vicious alien freaks in space, few can match her. The protagonist of James Cameron’s high octane sequel to the 1979 classic, Ripley, is still mourning the loss of her own daughter whilst trapped in hyper sleep. She practically adopts the abandoned Newt on the far-flung space colony, Hadley’s hope, before proceeding to defend her at all costs against her maternal counterpart the Alien Queen. Pure bad assery, if such a word exists.
Most Motherly Moment: “Get away from her you bitch.” If more parents around the country took that firm stance, bullying would be a thing of the past.