The Best Life Advice From Movie Moms


Mother’s Day is Sunday, and don’t panic, there’s still time to order those flowers you’ve been putting off all week. After all, good ol’ mom gave you life, kissed your boo-boos, listened to your problems, and (if you’re lucky) gave the kind of advice that sticks with you forever. And if she didn’t, well, that’s what movie moms are for, so here are a few of our favorite bits of guidance from the mothers of the silver screen:

“This is not some apron-wearing mother you’re speaking with – I know all about your Valhalla of decadence and I shouldn’t have let him go. He’s not ready for your world of compromised values and diminished brain cells that you throw away like confetti… I didn’t ask for this role, but I’ll play it. Now go do your best. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. Goethe said that. It’s not too late for you to become a person of substance, Russell.” –Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand), Almost Famous

“He’s just another asshole. You let that negative dreck in and it’ll put ya away. You can be a chickenshit and die or be a mensch and keep makin’ yourself well.” –Rusty Dennis (Cher), Mask

“It’s so much easier to be happy, my love. It’s so much easier to choose to love the things that you have, and you have so much, instead of always yearning for what you’re missing, or what it is you’re imagining you’re missing. It’s so much more peaceful.” –Kate Gulden (Meryl Streep), One True Thing

“Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You’re ready to go out and — and find a good use for your talent. Tho’ I don’t know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it.” –Marmee March (Susan Sarandon), Little Women

“Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning-because that ain’t the time at all… When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.” –Lena Younger (Claudia McNeil), A Raisin in the Sun

“I want you to have a good time but if you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will crawl into the car, drive up to Oxford and cut off your penis.” –Leigh Ann Touhy (Sandra Bullock), The Blind Side

“You have to do the best with what God gave you.” –Mama Gump (Sally Field), Forrest Gump (and, yes, the “box of chocolates” thing too, fine)

“Never let ’em see you ache. That’s what Mr. Mayer used to say. Or was it ‘ass’? Never let ’em see your ass.” –Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine) in Postcards from the Edge

“Gorgeous isn’t everything.” –Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) in Terms of Endearment

“Pretty dresses aren’t just for skinny girls.” –Estela (Ingrid Oliu), Real Women Have Curves

“Being rich is like being ten feet tall. Good for some things, bad for others.” –Martha “Mam” Hanson (Irene Dunne), I Remember Mama

“Keep the small bills on the outside and call me if anyone gets drunk.” –Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand), Almost Famous

“Just because you can use magic now does not mean you have to whip your wands out for everything.” –Mrs. Molly Weasley (Julie Walters), Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix

“Your identity is your most valuable possession.” –Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), The Incredibles

“Find a bush, Audrey!” –Ellen Griswold (Beverly D’Angelo), National Lampoon’s Vacation

“Don’t take drugs!” –Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand), Almost Famous

“Marty, don’t be such a square. Everybody who’s anybody drinks.” –Lorraine (Lea Thompson), Back to the Future

“I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.” –Ellen Griswold (Beverly D’Angelo), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

“Everybody dies. You know I believe it so don’t fuck with me! “ –Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

And, of course:

“NO MORE WIRE HANGERS, EVER!” –Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway), Mommie Dearest