My Worst Movie Moms List


Ami-Scythe's Avatar
A bucket of anxiety

Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest

I debated long and hard whether or not include this character on the list for a couple of reasons. Primarily, this character is based on a real person, but the character in this movie is seen through the very subjective eyes of her adopted daughter, Christina. Christina's view of her mother was very exaggerated and may have not been a true picture of the late actress, but this thread is about bad movie moms and strictly from that viewpoint, there's no way I could not include her on this list. According to this movie, Crawford (brilliantly portrayed by Faye Dunaway) adopted her children more as a publicity stunt rather than a true desire to be a mother. She strapped her children in bed and beat them on a regular basis. When she finds a wire hanger in her daughter's closet, she mercilessly beats her with it. When a teenage Christina embarrasses Crawford during a magazine interview, she almost strangles Christina to death. Also, according to this movie, when Crawford died, she left nothing to her children in her will.
I saw this one coming lol

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."


Hannah Morgan, The Mirror Has Two Faces

Lauren Bacall was robbed of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her biting performance in this 1996 romantic comedy playing the vain and self-absorbed mother of two daughters who is denial about her fading beauty, evidenced in her trying to outshine her daughter, Claire (Mimi Rogers) at her wedding and convincing her other daughter Rose (Barbra Streisand) that she will be a spinster for the rest of her life.


Mrs. Robinson, The Graduate

Anne Bancroft received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her sexy and venomous performance in a role that was originally offered to Doris Day. Mrs. Robinson is a wealthy married socialite who initiates an affair with a recent college graduate named Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) decades younger than she is. The young man then meets Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross) and falls in love with her, but Mrs. Robinson has no intention of giving up Benjamin and threatens to tell Elaine about their affair in order to keep them apart.


Mary Jones, Precious: Based on a novel Push by Sapphire

Former stand-up comic Mo'Nique blew everyone away and won a supporting actress Oscar to boot for a bone-chilling performance as a nasty welfare mother who has spent years physically and sexually abusing her daughter (Gabourey Sidibe), while spending welfare checks that really should have gone to her daughter.


Rose-Anne D'Arcey, A Patch of Blue

Shelley Winters won her second Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as the abusive, alcoholic mother of a blind girl (Elizabeth Hartman) who has found a possible escape from Mom with a sensitive black man (Sidney Poitier).


Eleanor Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate

Angela Lansbury was bone-chilling in the finest performance of her distinguished career as the ruthless mother of a politician (Laurence Harvey) who may or not have been the force behind her son's brainwashing.


Margaret White, Carrie

Piper Laurie received an Oscar nomination for her creepy performance as the psycho religious fanatic who keeps her teenaged daughter (Sissy Spacek) locked in a prayer closet reading bible verses, blames her daughter when she has her first period and has no idea what's happening to her and completely steals her daughter's joy when she is asked to the prom, even though her warnings about the prom were on the money...oh, and she does try to kill her daughter as well.

Well, that's number two...before I reveal my # 1 choice, there are some honorable mentions:

Mrs. Voorhees, Friday the 13th
Aurora Greenway, Terms of Endearment
Lorraine Baines McFly, Back to the Future
Ronnie's Mom, Observe and Report
Beverly Sutphin, Serial Mom
Delia Deitz, Beetlejuice

Okay, drum roll please, and now my personal vote for worst movie mom:

Captain Steel's Avatar
"Lois, I never lie."

Rose-Anne D'Arcey, A Patch of Blue

Shelley Winters won her second Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as the abusive, alcoholic mother of a blind girl (Elizabeth Hartman) who has found a possible escape from Mom with a sensitive black man (Sidney Poitier).
I just saw this for the first time about 2 weeks ago!

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Just caught this at the finish line and have enjoyed it thoroughly!
BRAVO Gideon!
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran


Beth Jerrod, Ordinary People

This choice can't be a surprise as some people watching this thread already called it, but this is definitely the worst movie mother ever for my money. Beth is an icy Chicago matriarch who lost her older son, Buck, in a boating accident, and though she has never said it directly, blames her younger son, Conrad (Oscar winner Timothy Hutton) for it. The incident led to Conrad attempting suicide and four months in a mental hospital, but Beth has never forgotten what happened and never will. She barely acknowledges Conrad's existence and whenever she speaks of him, she always uses the words "he" or "him", she rarely uses his name. She was frighteningly uncomfortable when her husband Cal (Donald Sutherland) tries to take a picture of her and Conrad together. The screenshot I chose to post here is from the scene that totally made me hate Beth. She and Cal have just returned from a vacation and Conrad told them that he was glad they were home and Conrad gives Beth a hug, from which she physically recoils and this is her reaction to being hugged by her son. This shot is her reaction to the hug. Mary Tyler Moore. cast brilliantly against type, gave the performance of her career which I still think should have won her the Best Actress Oscar of 1980. Every move Beth Jerrod made onscreen sent a chill down my spine.

Hope someone enjoyed the list.

Excellent list, Gideon and loved your first choice. Mary Tyler Moore was so realistically ice cold to her family, that she did indeed give shivers down one's spine.

That's the second bullet I stopped for you
Cindy from Win Win should have been in the top 20, plus Laura Brown from The Hours rated a mention.

I'm not 100% convinced that Laura Brown is a bad mother...the woman is terribly unhappy and we're never really given insight as to why. I think it was horrific that she wanted to commit suicide and takes him somewhere else so that he doesn't see what she's going to do, but I also think, in the pit of her gut, Laura thinks she is doing a son a favor by letting someone else raise him. Her motives for what she's doing aren't malicious, the woman is just terribly unhappy and that doesn't necessarily make her a bad mother.