There's nothing quite like a mother's love. On screen our favorite movie moms have kept us in check with their wit and wisdom. As we gear up to watch Nia Long in Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club, we're taking a look at 13 inspiring film matriarchs who have made us cry, and laugh till it hurts.
Whitney Houston in "Sparkle"
As no-nonsense mom Emma in this 2012 remake, Whitney Houston was the epitome of a stage mom: nurturing when necessary and always on the look out for her singing daughters’ best interests.
Phylicia Rashad in 'A Raisin in the Sun'
Lena Younger (Rashad in a role previously played by actress Claudia McNeil in the 1961 film version of the stage play ) is the matriarch charged with deciding her family's financial future after her husband's death. "Mama Younger" moves with a quiet resilience as she navigates between her children's wants and her own.
Juanita Moore in 'Imitation of Life'
Moore portrays Annie Johnson, a doting mom whose light-skinned daughter Sarah Jane (Sarah Kohner) is passing for white in this 1959 classic. Annie not only raises Sarah Jane, she is also a motherly figure to her boss Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) and her daughter Susie. Moore received an Oscar nod for the role.
Queen Latifah in 'Steel Magnolias'
In this touching scene from the 2012 Steel Magnolias remake where M'Lynn (Queen Latifah) prepares to donate one of her kidneys to Shelby (Condola Rashad), we are reminded of the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.
Photo by Lifetime
Diahann Carroll in "Claudine"
This 1971 classic features Carroll as Claudine Price, a single mother on welfare juggling work and raising her six children in Harlem. Throw in dating—in this case the garbage man, played by James Earl Jones—and Claudine has her hands full. Though her children have their moments of ruckus, the sassy Claudine is never afraid to lay down the law of the land.
Alfre Woodard in 'Crooklyn'
Woodard played Carolyn Carmichael in the beloved 1994 film classic based on Spike Lee's life. Tough, yet loving, Carolyn was the kind of no-nonsense matriach we could all relate to.
Photo by 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
Oprah Winfrey in 'Beloved'
Adapted from Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved tells the story of Sethe (Winfrey), a former slave who goes to the extremes—even killing her daughter—to protect her children from being sold into slavery.
Loretta Devine in "Waiting to Exhale"
In this 1995 box office smash, Devine (far left) plays Gloria, a single mom getting her feet back into the dating pool and finding her sexy again.
Jenifer Lewis in "What's Love Got to Do with It?"
Though problematic in her decision to abandon her eight-year-old daughter Anna Mae (Tina Turner, played by Angela Bassett), Zelma Bullock (Lewis) makes things right by reuniting with her daughter and doing her best to support Anna Mae's career and help her hold on to her rocky marriage.
Madge Sinclair in "Coming to America"
Queen Aoleon (Sinclair) is the kind of regal and all-knowing mom everyone loves.
Irma P. Hall in "Soul Food."
Family matriarch Mama Joe (Hall) was everything, to everyone. And her Sunday dinners kept her family together.
Cicely Tyson in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman"
Who better than mom to give you sound advice about grace and forgiveness when you're in the midst of relationship turmoil? Tyson's role as Myrtle Evers in Tyler Perry's 2005 big screen debut was just that.
Photo by Alfeo Dixon
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster"
Mama Lucas (Dee) is the voice of reason for her drug kingpin son Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) in the 2008 film. For her portrayal, Dee received her first Oscar nomination at the age of 83.