Why are so many of your mothers either dead or of the evil step-mother variety, Disney? I had to dig a little to come up with this list, but behold! 5 great motherly figures from Classic Disney movies!
#5 - Wendy Darling (Peter Pan)
Voiced by Kathryn Beaumont, 1953
A mother is someone who cares for you. Wendy certainly does that for her brothers, and for a while, the Lost Boys too. She has a vivid imagination, and encourages her brothers to be creative and to have fun. At home, she tells stories of Peter Pan and Neverland. Once in Neverland, she tells the boys about their mother so they don't forget her. Wendy knows what the young ones need to hear, and she dutifully delivers.
#4 - Lady St. Edmund (Candleshoe)
Played by Helen Hayes, 1977
Lady St. Edmund isn't actually related to any of the children who call her Grandmother. She lives in a big estate with lots of extra room, so some children from a local crowded orphanage came to live with her. The 4 children call her Grandmother, and get very defensive of their family when Casey, an outsider claiming to be her real long-lost granddaughter, shows up. (And for good reason; she's working with a con-man, and they're after treasure.) Once Casey's conscience shows up and she becomes part of the family, they're unstoppable. Lady St. Edmund may not be related to her grandchildren, but they make a wonderful family.
#3 - Katie Coates (Old Yeller)
Played by Dorothy McGuire, 1957
I adore all things Dorothy McGuire, but I believe Katie Coates is my favorite of her characters. Mr. Coates leaves on a cattle drive in the beginning, leaving her alone with their two sons. There are crops to be harvested, animals to be taken care of, wild animals, an annoying neighbor, a rabies outbreak, and the ever-present threat of an Indian raid in 1800s Texas. Katie Coates loves her children, and wants them to be safe and have fun and lead good lives. But she's also a farmer and a realist who knows what needs to be done in order to survive. Y'know, like that whole "Travis, get your gun" thing.
#2 - Nani (Lilo & Stitch)
Voiced by Tia Carrere, 2002
Spare me the "Lilo & Stitch isn't a classic" speech, because Nani belongs here. Their family is little and broken, but still good. Nani struggles to be a good caretaker for her little sister Lilo at first, but they hit their groove by the end, with the help of a little blue monstrosity. Nani supports Lilo's quirkiness and imagination. She doesn't try to change Lilo. And let's not forget that Nani was only a teenager when she became responsible for this very
adventurous little girl. It wasn't easy, but Nani never gave up.
#1 - Granny Kincaid (So Dear to My Heart)
Played by Beulah Bondi, 1948
It is never revealed what happened to Jeremiah Kincaid's parents, but he lives with Granny. (The relationship between Granny Kincaid and Uncle Hiram has always puzzled me. Is Hiram your son-in-law, your grandson, or what? What is he to you, Granny?!) Anyway, Granny and Jeremiah live alone on a farm in the early 1900s. Granny gets some help from Uncle Hiram when he drops by, but it looks like she and Jeremiah do most of the work. She is a very strong, tough, hard-working woman who will not tolerate foolishness. But she also has a soft spot for Jeremiah, and can't bear to sell the trouble-making black sheep he falls in love with, which is what the movie is about. Granny values hard work, family, and pride. Jeremiah values his pain-in-the-ass sheep. If you're watching this as a young'n and identify with the child characters, Granny will probably frustrate you. I was born an old lady, so I always loved Granny and all the things she did for her grandson, despite how difficult he made her life.