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CULTURE | 01.05.2016

Thanks, Mum! 10 Extraordinary Mothers in Film and Literature

There’s a lot to criticise about Hollywood: that there is no pay equality between men and women, for example. That actresses over the age of 50 find it difficult to get cast for main roles. Not to mention the general obsession with youth. But one thing is true for both film and television and real life: no mother is like the other. Just think of Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”, Sigourney Weaver in “Alien” and Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music”.

And often screenwriters attribute some of the best one-liners of the script to mothers. So for example to Julia Roberts, who, starring as Isabel in “Stepmom” (with the wonderful Susan Sarandon), says this about motherhood: “You know every story, every wound, every memory. Their whole life’s happiness is wrapped up in you… every single second.“ While we go looking for a tissue, go ahead and browse through our selection of very special mothers in film–and literature. Happy Mother’s Day!


Mrs. March, better known as Marmee
How do we know her? From the family drama “Little Women”.
What makes her special? Mrs March, better known as Marmee, takes care of the entire family and household. For the good of the family, she often puts her own needs on hold and downright sacrifices herself for her children.

Mrs. Gump
How do we know her? From the hit movie “Forrest Gump”.
What makes her special? In spite of his mental and physical handicaps Mrs Gump loves her son more than anything. She tries her best to make it possible for her son to live a normal life.

Peg Boggs
How do we know her? From the Depp classic “Edward Scissorhands”.
What makes her special? One day Edward, who lives all by himself in his creator’s castle, gets a visit by Avon lady Peg Boggs who ends up taking him home with her out of pity. Although Edward is not her biological son, she treats him like a part of her family.

Stella Dallas
How do we know her? From the melodrama “Stella Dallas”
What makes her special? Left by her husband the destitute Stella is determined to raise her daughter by herself. Despite her own lack of education and financial hardship, she manages to bring up Laurel as a young woman with good manners and behaviour. But in order to achieve this, she has to put up with a lot.

Erin Brokovitch
How do we know her? From the environmental court thriller “Erin Brockovich”.
What makes her special? Erin Brockovich is a single mother of three children and experiences significant financial difficulties. Despite her desperate situation, she manages not only to get her job back but to bring up her children at the same time.



The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
What is it about? “The One Plus One” tells the story of single mother Jess, who tries to feed herself and her two children by working two jobs. Son Nicky is in the midst of puberty and daughter Tanzie turns out to be a math genius. In order to fulfil her daughter’s dream of participating in a math contest, Jess makes a lot of sacrifices.


Room by Emma Donoghue
What is it about? The story is told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack, who is being held captive in a room with his mother, Ma. What Jack does not know: Many years ago his mother was kidnapped by a man who subsequently imprisoned and abused her. Jack himself was conceived and born in captivity.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
(Simon & Schuster)
What is it about? Mrs Bennet, the mother of five daughters, has made it her life’s mission to marry them off as quickly as possible. At first, this seems quite intrusive. Only upon closer inspection does it become obvious how concerned the mother is about the welfare of her daughters.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
What is it about? Every parent’s worst nightmare becomes a reality for Frannie Lancaster: Her daughter, 16-year-old Hazel has cancer, which has returned despite various treatments. Frannie tries to make the time remaining as memorable as possible.


Blue Nights by Joan Didion
What is it about? In “Blue Nights” author Joan Didion recalls the untimely death of her daughter Quintana, who died shortly after Joan’s husband John Gregory Dunne had also passed away. From her daughter’s first steps to the last farewell.