I AM MOTHER (2019)
Director: Grant Sputore Rated: PG Runtime: 1 hr. 53 mins
Studio: Rhea Films/Netflix Screenwriter: Michael Lloyd-Green
Cast: Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank
What is it with Netflix and robots? Is it just me? What is with the mass appeal of dystopian or apocalyptic premises in the last decade of screen media in general? Okay, if people didn’t like it or were sick of it, such projects wouldn’t get made. That doesn’t mean they all should.
So here’s I AM MOTHER with robots and the end of the human race. Hardly an original concept. After some extinction-level event wipes man from the Earth, robots inherit it. “Mother” is a nanny bot, voiced by Rose Byrne. Mother’s function is to repopulate the human race from a secret bunker with over 60K human embryos. She grows one, a female, and calls her “daughter” (Rugaard). Why just one? Mother needs to practice being a good parent before going all out. Here’s my first question, how would she handle more than a few? She’s the only robot. Then again, I had Alien and Prometheus vibes (sans actual aliens), so what do I know. Over time Daughter grows into a teenager, fully educated by Mother and curious about the world beyond the bunker. Who wouldn’t be?
Daughter’s safety and sheltered existence are challenged one day upon “the wounded woman’s” (Swank) arrival. Seriously, Swank’s character isn’t even credited with a name, just a description. If you’re the last of your kind, do names matter? Unlike Daughter, who didn’t need one, Swank’s character is an adult and probably had one at some point, so it leans towards degrading. I digress on this point.
Through a series of events, “the woman” ends up in the bunker (sorry, baby spoiler) and causes Daughter to question her life and Mother. The rest of the film is a letdown to the ideas planted of what viewers think is coming. Instead, it has strong echoes of the Alien franchise merged with Terminator and Star Trek’s Borg. As badass as that mashup implies, it culminates in nothing. It’s poached ideas that are left undercooked.
I AM MOTHER is a better-wrapped product than others whose packaging is recycled content. That’s all this film is. The script and performances were as flat as a sheet of paper. Watching this out of sheer boredom, I AM MOTHER has the appeal of lukewarm coffee, completely worth tossing aside.
There are so many (better) original films out there to spend your time on, some I mentioned. This film, however, has no place on your watchlist- unless you like unoriginal crap.
-A Pen Lady