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  • Joel Ryan

Favorite Fictional Moms: #1-5

It’s time to see who made the Top 5 on my Favorite Fictional Moms list. If you haven’t read all about the marvelous moms who made it in the first half, please do so now by clicking on the link below, or you can check it out later. Anyway, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Favorite Fictional Moms.

5. Kala – Tarzan (1999)

The magic makers at Disney Animation have given us several memorable moms, which is noteworthy considering how many Disney films have no mom or an absentee mom in the story. The moms of Dumbo and Bambi nearly made this list, for obvious reasons, and if we want to split into the Pixar library, Queen Elinor from Brave is definitely worth a mention. 1999’s Tarzan is, however, in my opinion, a truly underrated film from the Disney Animation Renaissance of the 1990s. Beautiful animation, great characters, beautiful songs, and an incredible mom as iconic as “You’ll Be in My Heart.”

Kala is a mom who has lost her firstborn son, and the tragedy of her backstory mirrors Tarzan’s own following the death of his parents. She knows Tarzan will never replace the child she lost. However, that doesn’t stop her from unconditionally loving this adopted son from another world. In the early parts of the story, Kala brings Tarzan into the tribe and stands by him even when others won’t. She raises him as her own, and would give absolutely everything to protect him. Tarzan is a beautiful story that explores the merging of families, the power of adoption, the intrinsic value of life, and the special bond that exists between a mother and son that goes beyond blood.

4. Mrs. Weasley – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

What we love about the entire Weasley family, especially Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, is that they never ask or expect their children to be anything other than Weasley. They aren’t wealthy. They aren’t elite. They aren’t really that cool by most traditional standards (although I would beg to differ), but they don’t have to be. The Weasleys are kind, modest, and caring. They are a family who never apologizes for their eclectic lifestyle and homegrown values. In a lot of ways, the Weasleys are a perfect foil for the Malfoys, who serve as the cold, prejudiced elitists of the wizarding world. So when Harry chooses Ron’s friendship over Draco, we know that the boy who lived has the right heart.

Nothing about the Burrow or life with the Weasley’s, is cold or unwelcoming. They are as kind and hospitable as any family could be, which is why they become a second home and family for Harry Potter. With the Weasleys, Harry found a family and a best friend, and so did we. They more than just the family he needed. They were also the family he wanted.

3. M’Lynn Eatenton – Steel Magnolias

M’Lynn Eatenton, played to perfection by Sally Field, gave us a garden of motherly emotions in her relationship with daughter Shelby (Julia Roberts). From the joys of marriage to the uncertainty of new motherhood and tragedy of death, M’Lynn experienced every tear, cheer, and frustration imaginable, and did so with brutal honesty, transparency, and a strength no man could match. Not only did she give everything for her daughter (including a kidney), M’Lynn allowed Shelby to make her own choices, even when she knew they were dangerous. Despite the health risks, Shelby wanted to be a mother and did so against medical advice. So what do you do when your children exert their independence and make choices you don’t agree with? You love them anyway. And M’Lynn showed just how fierce a mother’s love can be.

Soft and beautiful as a flower. Strong as steel. What better way to describe the women of this film (and all women for that matter), especially mothers.

2. Ellen Ripley – Aliens

Amidst the alien carnage and iconic Bill Paxton one-liners, it’s easy to forget that, at its core, Aliens is a story about mothers. Following Ripley’s escape from the first alien in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), she drifted in space in cryofreeze for fifty-seven years! By the time she is rescued, her own daughter had died and life as she knew it has passed away. This is the Ripley we meet when Aliens, the sequel, begins.

In this story, Ripley and a group of colonial marines return to the planet where Ripley’s original crew encountered the first xenomorph. As expected, all hell breaks loose when they must discover an entire swarm of xenomorphs birthed from an alien queen. Here, Ripley finds the only survivor of the planet’s colony, a little girl by the name of Newt.

In a lot of ways, Aliens reminds us that our world, as much as we’d like it to be, is not always safe for our children. They will encounter perils we cannot shelter them from forever. But at the very least, parents (and mothers) exist to protect their children from the monsters of this world until they are able to protect and defend themselves. And what better way to climax the film than with a showdown between the mother Ripley has become and the ultimate mother of evil, the alien queen who gave birth to the monsters that threaten Newt.

Aliens is more than just a terrific science fiction action thriller. It’s smart writing with incredible stakes, a ton of heart, and an even better heroine than what we had seen before.

1. Elastigirl aka Helen Parr – The Incredibles

Not only is The Incredibles one of the best animated films of ever made, it gave us a perfect metaphor for moms in the form of superhero Elastigirl. Every power created for to the members of the Parr family fits their personality and archetype perfectly. Dash, the overly energetic boy on overdrive is blessed with superspeed. Violet, the socially awkward teenage girl who feels invisible at times, can turn invisible. Jack Jack is the baby with unknown, untapped potential. And the dad of the family is truly Mr. Incredible, the super strong powerhouse of the home.

And then there’s Elastigirl, who possesses arguably the most fitting power known to moms around the world.


Moms bend, stretch, and balance more responsibilities than anyone, and they do so with an elasticity and flexibility that can only be described as superhuman. In all of her powers, however, Helen Parr also has to contend with the developing gifts of her own children.

Elastigirl teaches Dash and Violet how to navigate this world while managing their own strengths and weaknesses. While initially hesitant to just let her children unleash their untrained powers, when the time comes, she knows she has prepared, equipped, and empowered them enough to release them to use their abilities in the fight.

What better gift can a mom give her children than to identify their strengths, train them for success, trust them to do the right thing, and ultimately empower and release them to do it. Helen Parr does all this and more as just one of many superhero moms in the world.

We love you, Moms, and always will!

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. If you have a favorite fictional mom you feel was unjustly left out, I would love to hear about it. Remember, these are some of my favorites. Feel free to message me directly or leave a comment below with some of yours.

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Until Today, Storytellers