Most Lovable On-Screen Mother Daughter Relationships

They’re some seriously powerful ladies.

Mother's Day Mother Daughter Relationships

What is it that’s so magical about an onscreen mother-daughter duo? It’s sweet to see a fictional pair with a great relationship, but even strained maternal bonds have a fascinating quality to them when they play out on TV or in a movie. Maybe this is because they serve as a reminder that life is messy, especially when it comes to family, but more often than not, love prevails between mums and their kids.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we look back at the cinematic maternal relationships that are comical, dysfunctional, and loving.

Here we go!

1 Emily, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore – Gilmore Girls

Mother's Day Gilmore Girls

Name a more iconic trio. I’ll wait. No, seriously, is there any generational trifecta more deadly than the Gilmore Girls?

Emily is the terrifying yet lovable matriarch we all secretly want to be. Lorelai is the trademark cool mum and Rory the perfect daughter. We all see ourselves in one of the characters, and hey, it’s okay if you relate to Lorelai nowadays instead of Rory when you watch the original series.

If the Gilmore Girls taught us anything, it was that mums and daughters can be best friends. Rory and Lorelai warmed our hearts with their mother-daughter movie nights, endless witty banter (including secret code-speak) and the fact that they always had each other’s backs.

The queens of mother-daughter perfection. It doesn’t get any better than this trio.

2 Miss Honey and Matilda Wormwood – Matilda

Mother's Day Matilda

From the moment they met at Crunchem Hall, Matilda and Miss Honey formed an instant friendship – despite the fact they had the Trunbull breathing down their necks. But after driving the wicked headmistress out of town (thank goodness) and waving off her unloving fam, Matilda was finally adopted by her class teacher, meaning – Danny DeVito voice – both of them got what they finally wanted: a loving family. Cue all the happy tears.

Opposite her real-life husband, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman acts as a neglectful mother in the film based off of the Roald Dahl novel about a girl with telekinetic abilities.

Perfectly showcasing the powerful bond between an adoptive mum and her little one, this timeless children’s classic is one for all the family.

3 Tess and Anna Coleman – Freaky Friday

Mother's Day Freaky Friday

So, you might worry you’re turning in to your mother more and more with every year that passes, but what about actually ending up in her body – and her in yours?

Like many teenagers, Anna had her fair share of drama with her mum, Tess. They didn’t seem to really get each other between all the fights and door-slamming – well, until they swapped bodies, that is. This mother-daughter duo finally got to see the world through the other’s eyes, making them closer than ever before.

Definitely one to watch with the teen in your life, it highlights the tensions that can often arise between daughters and their mums at this tricky time, but also shows just how strong the mother-daughter bond can be when it’s put to the test.

4 Marge and Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons

Mother's Day The Simpsons

When it comes to her kids, Marge’s radar is always fine-tuned. Even with little Maggie as well as Lisa.

It’s difficult to deny that The Simpsons females are considerably more enlightened than their male counterparts. Marge (Julie Kavner) and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) take refuge in a mutual depth, a quiet wink between knowing kin, one that without, both would struggle to remain sane.

While Marge and Lisa don’t have the best relationship, they are quite similar in a lot of ways. They also definitely get up to some hilarious antics. They both act as moral compasses on the show, and Marge is always there to give Lisa some motherly advice when she’s having problems with her brother or at school.

5 Molly and Ginny Weasley – Harry Potter

Mother's Day Harry Potter

Like mother, like daughter. It can’t be easy being a Weasley, what with the fighting and the flying cars. However, both Molly and Ginny would defend each other, and the full clan of Weasley men, to the death. Which is lucky, since they have to do exactly that on a number of occasions.

You’d have thought the possession of magical powers might have stopped society from underestimating short-statured women, but no. They both join in the action, but when push comes to shove.

Molly and Ginny Weasley’s relationship is underrated in the Harry Potter world; we know she’d be totally cool about Ginny dating Harry. Despite the constant life-threatening situations she probably ends up in as a result. Plus, ‘not my daughter you b*tch’ is the best line in all eight movies.

6 Donna and Sophie Sheridan – Mamma Mia

Mother's Day Mamma Mia

It’s these two against the world. Even when Sophie is expected to be at her most grown-up as she prepares to get married, she turns to her mum for help, because she knows she’ll always be there for her.

Closer than close, these two show that a single mum and her daughter are the definition of girl power. We defy anyone not to be touched by the scene where they get ready for Sophie’s wedding, not to mention when Donna walks her girl down the aisle.

7 Regina and Mrs George – Mean Girls

Mother's Day Mean Girls

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Mrs George isn’t like a regular mum, she’s a cool mum *wink*. Whilst her antics in Mean Girls get a few eye-rolls from Regina, there’s no denying that this pink tracksuit-clad, mocktail-serving mama was majorly supportive of her daughter. Whether she was cheering her on in the Winter Talent Show or making her neck brace look all fancy for the Spring Fling. You go, Glen Coco.

Remember how she shimmied to “Jingle Bell Rock” in the aisles of the school assembly? Mrs. George puts all the Toddlers & Tiaras mothers to shame. Which is exactly what a queen-bee like Regina needs. Who else would make a spinal brace so pretty or document every moment of prom on her camcorder?

8 Queen Elinor and Merida – Brave

Mother's Day Brave

Most classic animated films focus on a young girl’s relationship with her father and various handsome princes. In fact, mothers and stepmothers are often villains, like in Snow White and Tangled. Or have passed away, as in Aladdin, Beauty and The Beast and The Little Mermaid.

Brave is special because at the crux of it is the relationship between reluctant princess Merida and her stern mum Queen Elinor. The Queen only wants what’s best and proper for her wayward girl, but as the two butt heads, magic takes over and forces them to understand one another. Oh yeah, and in the middle of all of that, Elinor is turned in to a bear.

Another must-watch if you have young kids – or indeed grand kids – this cartoon classic proves that you can improve a fraught mum-daughter relationship, if you only take the time to understand one another’s perspectives.

9 Catelyn, Sansa and Arya Stark – Game of Thrones

Mother's Day Game of Thrones

Being a mother in Westeros certainly seems like a Sisyphean task. First and foremost, by definition that means you’re a woman, which automatically puts you at a disadvantage in the staunchly patriarchal Westeros.

Possibly the mum with the goriest screen death ever. Game of Thrones’ Queen of the North was an absolute bad ass until (spoiler alert!) she was duped, double-crossed and murdered at the Red Wedding. However, her beloved daughters Arya and Sansa seem to have inherited her strength, wisdom and ability to spot a chancer a mile off. They’re out-lasting many of the male characters in the show with the biggest body count on television and are both burgeoning feminist icons. Yeow!


Leave a comment if you can think of some of your own favourite mother daughter on-screen duos. We’d love to know!