Top 10 Worst Movie Mothers

The movie of the week over at Film Vituperatum this week is Psycho, hence why I posted a review of it yesterday, and seeing as it is Mother’s Day this Sunday the two events seemed to coincide far too perfectly for me to not create a Top 10 list in celebration. I was a little unsure of which direction to take this in, but then I considered that the mother in Psycho probably wouldn’t have sat too well on a list of the all time greatest movie mothers, so forgive me but this is a more negative view of cinematic matriarchs. So here is my run down of the movie mothers that make me oh so very grateful for the one I ended up with, as opposed to any of these raving bags of lunacy.Now as it turned out Psycho‘s Mrs. Bates didn’t make an appearance on this list, as all she was really guilty of parenting-wise was maybe loving her son a little too much – something which a member of this list attempted to take a bit further. Also, any US readers who may have gotten terrified of the mention of it being Mother’s Day this Sunday should not be overly concerned; we celebrate it a couple of months earlier than you guys, so you’ve still got until May to buy those flowers. So, without further ado, here’s my list of mothers who would at best deserve a hastily purchased card from a petrol station, if that.

Honourable mention

Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
On the surface, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) doesn’t seem to be too bad of a mother. She doesn’t do much wrong other than get herself kidnapped and wear the same forced, frozen smile on her face for the entirety of this intolerable movie. In fact, she’s done a fairly reasonable job of raising a son almost single-handedly, whilst maintaining a career along the way. Yes, that son has turned out to be Shia LaBeouf pretending to be Marlon Brando, but it could have been worse. Shia LaBeouf pretending to be Shia LaBeouf, for example. No, Marion’s crime is in denying her child, Mutt Williams, of the knowledge of his father’s true identity, that of [REALLY OBVIOUS SPOILER] Indiana Jones. What boy growing up wouldn’t want Indy to be his father? He’s possibly the coolest man in existence, and even with the lack of stability and large periods of time spent travelling the globe in search of historic artifacts and sexy historians, he’d still have been one hell of a father figure to look up to for any growing boy. Plus, she let her son go around with the nickname Mutt.

Precious (based on the novel Push by Sapphire)

I knew what I was expecting when I sat down to watch Precious: being depressed, angered and infuriated by the action on screen, but doubtlessly impressed by the acting on display. Shockingly, I was correct, though thankfully most of the abuse was verbal.
Gabourey Sidibe (more recently seen in Tower Heist and The Big C, where I’m guessing everyone else on set spends most of their time working out how to pronounce her name) is Clarice ‘Precious’ Jones, a severely obese sixteen year old, pregnant with her second child as a result of being raped by her father again. She lives in a cramped apartment with her volatile, welfare-abusing mother (Oscar-winning Mo’nique, a revelation from a woman exclusively known for comedy until this point) in Harlem in 1987. Oh, and her first child has been nicknamed Mongo for suffering Down’s Syndrome. See, told you it was depressing.
Precious’ mother is a monster of Hannibal Lecter proportions, with every word calculated to bring the most destruction to her child. We hear such gems as “School ain’t gonna help none, take your fat ass down to the welfare,” “You will never know shit, don’t nobody want you,” and “I should have aborted your fat fuckin’ ass.” Charming. Many scenes are beyond difficult to watch, from the furious tirade aimed at Precious when her headmistress (“white bitch”) drops round after school, to the fantasies of red carpets and photo shoots that make up the only escape Precious has from her unbearable existence.
It’s not all crushing depression. Mostly, but not all, for Precious seeks to improve her situation, enrolling in an alternative school for kids who’ve fallen through the cracks, so there is light at the end of the tunnel, shone from three supporting adults, her teacher Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), the nurse’s assistant who helps delivers her baby (Lenny Kravitz) and her social worker (Mariah Carey). These last two choices seem like some fairly risky stunt casting, but it pays off, as though the singers aren’t likely to be bothering the Academy any time soon, they perform ably and selflessly in places you wouldn’t normally expect them.
Though well made, directed and shot, the subject matter at times feels like a particularly sobering episode of Jerry Springer, interspersed with some truly shocking moments that generally involve potential harm to Precious baby. But it’s not as miserable as first thought, and the performances on display are worth watching.
Choose film 7/10