SMW’s Top 10 Films About Single Moms

By Allison O'Connor

films about single momsSome of the best female roles in Hollywood have been portraying single moms. Let’s face it, single moms are strong, in every sense of the word. They have to be: they are playing the role of both mother and father.

This list of the top 10 single mom films was compiled by our team of single mom experts. Rent any one of these films and take comfort in the fact that you are also a strong, independent single mom. Here’s our list in no particular order:

Stella Dallas: Barbara Stanwick (1937). A very poor divorced single mother dedicates her life to her daughter’s success and career advancement. The very last scene in the move–where she stands outside the window of the church, watching her own daughter’s wedding to a wealthy man — is a tear-jerker like none others, so make sure you’ve got a box of hankies handy.

Mildred Pierce: Joan Crawford (1945). Murder, death, money – this movie has it all. This is a story of a single mother who struggles to provide and protect her wayward daughter. Was it worth it? (A question every mother asks, but already knows the answer…)

Terms of Endearment: Shirley MacLaine (1983). The complexities of the mother-daughter relationship are beautifully revealed in this story of two women searching for love and acceptance. Deborah Winger plays the daughter. Apparently there was was no love lost between the two of them on the set. Shows just how great both are as actors!

Mask: Cher (1985). A biker mom fights to give her physically challenged son a normal education and life. Cher needs to act more. This proves it.

Baby Boom: Diane Keaton (1987). Successful advertising executive’s life is turned upside down when a distant cousin dies and leaves her custody of a toddler. Cute fluff, especially when a woman ends up in the arms of playwright/actor Sam Sheppard.

As Good As it Gets: Helen Hunt (1997). A single mom of a chronically ill child discovers that sometimes the people you can count on most are the ones you least expect. A great role for Jack Nicholson, and the underrated Greg Kennear, whom here plays against type.

Requiem For A Dream: Ellen Burstyn (2000). A widowed, single mother struggles to help her drug addicted son. As always, Burstyn embodies her roles and that makes them heartwrenchingly empathetic.

Erin Bockovich: Julia Roberts (2000). Single mother of three who working as a legal clerk, uncovers an industrial poisoning cover up by PG&E. Roberts is endearing as a tart with a heart–and great legal instincts.

Raising Helen: Kate Hudson (2004). Life dramatically changes for this young, single woman when her sister and brother-in-law die in a car crash and leave her to care for their three children. Shows a softer side of Hudson that is usually missing from her standard chick flick roles.

Chocolat: Juliette Binoche (2000). Story of a young, single mother who opens a chocolate shop in a little French village and how her chocolate changes the lives of the townspeople. The movie is a fantasy, but this fantastic actress embodies the premise endearingly.

Have a favorite “single mom” movie? Let us know. Leave a comment in the box below.

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