The Incredibles (2004)
The Mum : Helen Parr. AKA Elastigirl. AKA Mrs. Incredible. The maternal contingent of Pixar's super-family.
The Awesome : A superhero in her younger days, Elastigirl marries fellow crimefighter Mr Incredible. After superheroism is outlawed, the pair retire and raise a family. When her husband is endangered re-living his glory days, it's up to Elastigirl to don a new supersuit and and sort things out the way only a mum can.
Her high point comes when infiltrating Syndrome's secret base, where her stretchy limbs provide one of the movie's finest set-pieces. And turning into a parachute to save her kids has got to earn her some Mother's Day brownie points.
The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1992)
The Mum : Sarah Connor. Mother of humanity's saviour and she doesn't even know it. Unfortunately she has to get up to speed pretty sharpish as a killing machine from the future is sent to destroy her and, hence, prevent her spawning.
The Awesome : In The Terminator , Sarah is a small-town waitress just enjoying the 80's. All this changes when she meets Kyle Reese, a resistance fighter from the future, sent through time by her son to protect her. And help make the aforementioned humanity-saving baby.
Sarah really comes into her own as an awesome mother in T2 though. Committed to a mental institution for her apparently insane ideas about the future, she's gotten prepared for Judgment Day and transformed herself into a fully-fledged badass. Kudos to Linda Hamilton for making the transformation totally believable.
The Mother (2003)
The Mum : May, played by Anne Reid. She visits her kids in London and decides to stay on there, rather than returning back Oop North, after her husband pops his clogs.
The Awesome : Feeling lonely in an unfamiliar city, May embarks on a sexual affair with a hunky handyman half her age (a pre-Bond Daniel Craig). Striking a blow for neglected oldies everywhere!
To director Roger Michell's credit, this is a sensitively-handled drama, and never as tacky as a simple synopsis might suggest (due in no small part to Reid and Craig's knockout performances).
American Pie (1999)
The Mum : Stifler's Mum. Lusted after by most of the boys at her son's high school, she defined the anacronym MILF for a generation.
The Awesome : She helps Finch (the geek of the movie's virginity-pact quartet) leave school with his reputation in tact, after seducing him, Mrs Robinson-style at the Prom Night party.
The tryst continues with encounters in the next couple of official Pie movies.
The Mum : Pregnant high-schooler Juno. Cemented Ellen Page as one of the finest actresses of her generation, after her attention-grabbing performance in Hard Candy .
The Awesome : Largely down to Diablo Cody's crackling dialogue, Juno is a convincing blend of angry, angsty exterior and emotionally-precarious centre. She makes the best of the situation by giving her kid to desperate-to-adopt mummy Jennifer Garner in a bittersweet ending.
And she sorts out her relationship with school 'jock' Michael Cera in the process. Bonus.
Boogie Nights (1997)
The Mum : Amber Waves. Losing a custody battle against her ex-husband (thanks to her porn career and drug problems), Amber takes the younger cast members under her motherly wing.
The Awesome : She initially leads an enviably glamorous lifestyle, and introduces her young charges to the joys of fast cars and hard drugs. Oh. Not surprising she lost that custody battle then.
But she does fight to improve herself: turning her hand to film-making, she shoots a documentary about her surrogate (porn industry) family. Good for her!
The Brood (1979)
The Mum : Nola Carveth. Having moved in with Oliver Reed's experimental psychotherapist, Nola only has occasional access to her young daughter Candice.
The Awesome : Candice ain't Nola's only child. Since becoming holed up with the shady doc, she's been giving birth to a demonic brood of killer cat-children as physical manifestations of her anger. Squint as you watch her lick clean one of the new born creature foetuses in the movie's last act!
Apparently director David Cronenberg based the film on a custody battle he had with his ex-wife. Based on a true mum! Ouch!
The Mum : Ellen Ripley. Sigourney Weaver's seminal sci-fi heroine awakes from hypersleep after the Nostromo incident, having been snoozing for longer than expected. She finds out that her daughter had died a couple of years earlier, aged 66.
The Awesome : Ripley returns to the colonised planetoid LV-426, acting as a consultant for the Weyland-Yutani mission.
She shows her true motherly instincts by taking lone survivor Newt under her wings, and kicking serious ass to make sure the little lass stays safe. Even if that means taking on some pretty hefty baddies with the help of a powerloader.
Aliens (1986)... again
The Mum : The Alien Queen. The other side to Aliens ' matriachal coin.
The Awesome : James Cameron hired FX guru Stan Winston to help him bring the imposing Alien Queen to life. The original's xenomorph is dwarfed by this beast, who is enraged when Ripley starts blowing away her eggs with a pulse rifle.
A fearsome mummy and a mighty spectacular practical effect to boot.
The Mum : Grendel's mother. The mutant's demonic mother is played by a mo-capping Angelina Jolie. In the buff. In 3-D.
The Awesome : After killing Grendel, Beowulf heads for the mother's lair to end the demon threat. Unfortunately he doesn't count on her taking the previously-mentioned nudey 3-D form of Angelina Jolie and he succumbs to her seductive powers, and fathers a dragon with her. You can't really blame him, though.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Mum : Etheline Tenenbaum. Anjelica Huston plays the matriarch of Wes Anderson's eccentric family.
The Awesome : Etheline is pretty no-nonsense when it comes to dealing with her husband's foibles. She finds herself a more reliable other half in the form of Danny Glover's accountant.
Her parental skills are debatable though, as her three children are all genii of some description, but they're also all pretty mentally unstable. To be fair, the ineffectual Royal was probably a child-raising hinderance, and should have probably been sat on the naughty step when it came to matters of parenting.
It's also impossible to think of Anjelica Huston without remembering her inspired casting as the Addams family's lady-parent, Morticia.
The Mum : Norma Bates, mother of reclusive motelier Norman, is not all she seems.
The Awesome : "She isn't quite herself today." Undoubtedly the creepiest mother on this list (heck, ever), Mrs Bates has murderous designs on her son's motel guests.
Familiarity with the twist makes Psycho no less creepy. If you happen to be unfamiliar with the twist, then get thee to a video store right away!
The Mum : The Other Mother. When Coraline Jones goes exploring in her new house, she finds a secret doorway that leads to a replica house, only with her parents exchanged for button-eyed fantasy versions of themselves.
The Awesome : Like everything that seems too good to be true, it turns out Coraline's Other Mother is some kind of witch who has fashioned the alternate world to lure in innocent victims.
When Coraline doesn't fancy buttons for peepers, she has to take on her increasingly demented Other Mother in a series of challenges. Genuinely eerie kid-flick.
The Graduate (1967)
The Mum : Mrs. Robinson. The yardstick by which all seductive ladies of 'a certain age' are measured.
The Awesome : She aggressively seduces graduate Benjamin Braddock, despite the fact that he is the son of one her husband's friends. Mrs. Robinson doesn't hestitate in showing her nasty side when Benjamin starts dating her daughter.
The most memorable character in an iconic movie.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
The Mum : Joan Crawford, played by Faye Dunaway in this biographical camp classic.
The Awesome : This is one crazy Mother! Based on a controversial memoir by Joan's adopted daughter Christine, this presents the Hollywood actress as an abusive and violent mother, not least in the infamous wire hanger scene.
Crawford is also depicted as insanely neurotic: if she was your mum you'd make damn sure you tidied your bedroom. Despite being pretty poorly received by the critics, Mommie Dearest became something of a cult curio.