On Mother’s Day, we take the time to call our mothers, send flowers, and attend overpriced brunches. We do it to celebrate all that is good about our mothers. In contrast, cinema finds stories more interesting when it celebrates horrific mothers, the kind of mothers that make your mom look like June Cleaver in comparison.
The bad mom is a classic archetype. Euripides hit the jackpot when he wrote the story of Medea, who killed her children, cooked them, and served them to her unfaithful husband, Jason (and you thought your mom held a grudge). Awful mothers captivate an audience.
The first contemporary bad film moms that come to mind are Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest and Margaret White in Carrie. It’s hard to beat an actual autobiographical depiction of being tortured by a film star or a narrative featuring a religious zealot willing to kill her daughter. But, the following list offers up a few more examples.
When you talk to your mom, take a minute and remind yourself how much worse her parenting could have been.