I Am Mother follows a robot (mo-capped by Luke Hawker, voiced by Rose Byrne) that raises a young woman (Clara Rugaard) within a technologically advanced bunker after a supposed post-apocalyptic event. When a strange woman (Hilary Swank) arrives from the outside world and begins contradicting the robot's account of events, the young woman must decide who and how much to believe.
I Am Mother Review
I am a strong proponent for scifi as the genre for universal commentary. It can be used to bring unique perspectives and thought processes to philosophy, psychology, morality, ethics, religion...virtually any element of human experience or our perceived reality. And while I Am Mother's framework is around the all-too familiar territory of artificial intelligence, it also tackles ethical and moral dilemmas in motherhood, personhood, humanity, and utilitarianism.
With moderate but certainly not excessive budgets, Netflix's original scifi flicks have attempted emotional depth at the expense of epic breadth, but nothing covers quite the gamut of moral and philosophical dilemmas like I Am Mother. Its arguably the most effective piece of scifi cinema Netflix has released to date.
The claustrophobic atmosphere acts as a mechanical womb from which our characters develop. Swank, Rugaard and Byrne build a powerful triangle of relational dynamics that challenge the audience at every turn. It's the philosophical and moral conundrums that drive the film through.
But the plot itself is a bit of a struggle. The constant twists in deception feel expected if not predictable. It's kind of surprising in hindsight that the film manages such unique perspectives on life with such mundane uniformity in its story structure and dialogue.
While definitely not horror of any kind, the dark subject matter breaches disturbing on several occasions. Even a "happy ending" feels tainted by the nature of the resolution. The strength of the film lies in this, as its ambiguousness to the right or wrong of the moral seesaw will cause quite a few fights between aspiring philosophers.
As a whole, the film can be a bit dull and methodical, but it inevitably carries strong messages that can be left to interpretation from a variety of world views. It makes the thought processing after watching the film more entertaining than watching the film itself.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 5/10
Horror Quality: 3/10
Film Quality: 6/10