Last August, my colleague Tony Schaab posted a “Should I Check Out” article on Netflix’s ‘I am Mother.’ While he didn’t care for the movie, I’ll tell you why I think you should check it out.
I’m always a sucker for movies about a dystopian future and ‘I am Mother’ did not disappoint. I had a fun love-hate relationship with the film. There were times when I’d think, “Okay, this is slow, I think I’m going to shut it off now.” And then I found my self leaning closer to the TV because something reached out and hooked me again. I think that the director, Grant Sputore, did this intentionally as the overall story seems to be one where the concepts of safety, security, and family are juxtaposed with destruction, calamity, and betrayal.
Without spoiling anything you wouldn’t see in the trailer (available for your viewing pleasure below), ‘I Am Mother’ follows the story of a young girl who is grown from an embryo in a machine-run facility and cared for by an anthropomorphic robot called “Mother” who is voiced by Rose Byrne. We see the robot raising the child from her “birth” until she’s old enough to reason and talk and we meet the young woman known only as “Daughter” (played by Clara Rugaard). We first see her personality through a series of ethical tests that are slightly horrific.
She’s certain she’s alone in the world until … she isn’t. Enter a character who’s never named, but called “Woman” in the credits (Hillary Swank), a post-apocalyptic survivor who manages to convince Daughter to let her into the secure facility. Woman doesn’t trust Mother and causes a fuss. Mother is protective of Daughter, who really doesn’t know what’s going on, and hijinks ensue!
What I really liked about ‘I Am Mother’ is the fact that it wasn’t yet another run of the mill, “Ooo, let’s make a cheap ‘Matrix’/’Terminator’ knock-off with bad robots who want to kill everyone and make humans live in squalor.” I’ll watch any of those, of course, because I’m a geek and I love all things sci-fi, even the bad ones. However, I was very pleased to find that this film employed excellent writing and interesting environments that drove the story, emotion, and a very pleasant unpredictability forward.
Michael Lloyd Green, one of the co-writers, explained his intent in an interview with Bloodydisgusting.com:
“What rose to the top for me was the question of whether I was ready to be a parent, in tandem with this larger question of whether humanity was ready to be a ‘parent’ to artificial intelligence. How do we go about teaching another entity to be good, when we struggle to do that ourselves? And to go even deeper, what does it mean to be ‘good’ at all.”
I think he did a fantastic job!
Should you check out ‘I Am Mother’? With all due respect to Tony and his opinions, I say yes, you definitely should!