These big-screen moms and dads provide lessons in involvement.
While day-to-day parenting is anything but glamorous, the tremendous ups and downs of raising children make for great movie storylines. These parents are just a few of the good, the bad, and the ugly moms and dads portrayed in film. They may not be perfect role models, but they certainly are entertaining!
Gil Buckman, Parenthood
Although he’s under increasing pressure at work, the harried father’s top priority is spending time with his three children. When school officials tell the Buckmans that their son Kevin has emotional problems, Gil (Steve Martin) takes on coaching duties for Kevin’s baseball team, cheering him on through many difficult innings. And when his youngest son crashes the set of his daughter’s school play, he still thinks it’s the best show in town. Verdict: GOOD.
The Salts, the Teavees, the Beauregardes, the Gloops, and the Buckets, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
When it comes to character education, most of the parents in this movie get a failing grade. Veruca Salt’s wealthy father indulges her every whim, buying a warehouse full of Wonka bars so she can have a golden ticket. Mike Teavee’s parents allow him to live his life in front of the television set. Violet Beauregarde’s mother is so competitive that her daughter must win at everything. Augustus Gloop’s parents let him eat mounds of candy every day and do little to discourage his greediness. Luckily, Charlie Bucket’s family taught him the importance of honesty and self-control, which are important traits to have when touring Willy Wonka’s factory. Verdict: BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD, GOOD.
Rodmilla De Ghent, Ever After: A Cinderella Story
In this retelling of the classic fairy tale, the Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent (Anjelica Huston) is a very wicked stepmother, indeed. After her husband’s death, she withholds affection from her stepdaughter, Danielle, ridicules her for reading, and forces her to work as a servant in her own home. The baroness later sells Danielle’s prized books, which her father had brought home from his travels. When the Baroness De Ghent learns that the handsome prince fancies Danielle over her own daughter, she locks her stepdaughter in the pantry. Verdict: UGLY.
Charlie Hinton, Daddy Day Care
It’s true that Charlie (Eddie Murphy), like Mr. Mom before him, was always too busy to bond with his son, Ben–until he was laid off. When the Hintons can no longer afford to send Ben to the “Princeton of preschools,” Charlie starts his own home day care where the emphasis is on fun, not college prep courses. Still, between the puppet shows and wrestling matches featuring dads in vegetable costumes, each child learns something important, whether it’s how to read or to say “please” and “thank you.” Charlie learns from the children, too, and grows closer than ever with his son. Verdict: GOOD.
Petunia and Vernon Dursley, Harry Potter
Harry’s Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon overindulge their son Dudley and celebrate when he’s accepted to a prestigious prep school. But the Dursleys neglect Harry, whom they force to live in a cupboard under the stairs. When Harry is invited to study at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they try to keep him from pursuing a magical education but ultimately are relieved he’ll be leaving their home. Each summer when Harry returns from the boarding school, his surrogate parents forbid him to talk about his lessons or to get a head start on reading for the next term. Verdict: UGLY.
Mrs. George, Mean Girls
Mrs. George (Amy Poehler) is a self-described “cool mom” who just wants to be one of the girls. Her “no rules” policy backfires, however, as her manipulative teenage daughter, Regina, flaunts skimpy clothing, indulges in underage drinking, and is downright mean to just about everyone. Sure, Mrs. George is there with her camcorder applauding her daughter in the school talent show, but in her efforts to be Regina’s best friend, she misses warning signs that her daughter is headed for trouble. Later, when Regina spreads vicious rumors about students and staff, she incites a riot at her high school, then tries to pin the blame on others. Verdict: BAD.
Helen Parr, The Incredibles
Supermom Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) may be retired from fighting crime as Elastigirl, but her remarkable flexibility comes in handy raising kids with their own superpowers. Her speedy son Dash wants nothing more than to run on the school track team. The problem is that he can’t resist using his abilities to pull pranks on his teacher, resulting in frequent conferences with the principal and the risk of exposing his family. Helen wisely keeps Dash out of track until he proves he can keep his superpowers in check. After they work together to defeat an evil villain, the whole family cheers Dash on at a school track meet, where he keeps his promise to run slower than the other kids and comes in second place. Verdict: GOOD.