The Netflix movie “I am Mother” looked like a promising science fiction movie but it still took me a fair amount of time to actually click play. I must have scrolled past it over a dozen times before I decided to sit down and watch it.
It was clear that the movie had something to do with children. Maybe it’s because I’m a parent. Maybe it’s because I have anxiety. But whatever the cause… watching things where children are in danger or hurt is very stressful to me.
Yet… since the description seemed to hint that the child grew up, I thought it wouldn’t bother me too much. And, for the most part I was right… but not completely.
Before we get into my actual review, here’s a loot at the trailer:
The Only Human
We start off knowing there was an extinction level event right off the bat. The movie makes it clear that it takes place within a facility designed to grow humans. We also quickly meet the artificial intelligence behind it all… Mother.
The baby is birthed from an artificial womb and we watch as the child grows under the care and guidance of Mother. At first it seems odd that Mother is just raising one child when there appear to be upwards of thousands. But the writers clarify that by having Mother explain that she’s “learning.”
Of course, any good movie is more than just “a day in the life” type of story. There must be some kind of disruption. In this case, that occurs when someone from the outside finds the facility and the main character, Daughter, lets the woman in.
Suddenly, everything Daughter believes she knows is a lie. But if you haven’t seen the movie for yourself, this is where you should stop and watch it… because the spoilers are coming!
Mother’s goal is to create a better human. A more compassionate human. Humans that care about each other instead of killing each other. Arguably a good goal. But at what cost? Mother seems to succeed with Daughter, at least up until Daughter’s very existence is brought into question by the outsider.
This is when daughter’s curiosity begins to get the best of her. She starts snooping around and uncovering a truth she wasn’t prepared to understand. The girl then flees with the outsider only to find that her claims were also lies.
Keeping the Audience on their Toes
Like any good sci-fi movie we have an interesting story with a few red-herrings thrown in. In “I Am Mother” we don’t catch on to the red hearings until the director is ready for us to. The most heart-wrenching for me was knowing that… as we watched the child grow, we may have actually been watching multiple children. Or maybe not… it’s hard to say for certain. What we do know is that Mother most definitely killed the children she deemed to be “failures” as we find out when Daughter rummages through the ash in the incinerator.
But now the stakes are higher. A brother has been introduced into the picture and Daughter feels an obligation to protect him as her only family and as a very vulnerable individual. She returns to save her brother and her final encounter with Mother is both revealing and moving. I won’t go into too much detail just in case you read on past where you should have stopped if you haven’t seen the movie (shame on you if that’s the case! lol)
But the end, while somewhat tragic, is also hopeful.
A Second Chance
In the end, Daughter is left with her brother to raise him. Teach him what she knows. Help create a better human.
But will she be able to do better than Mother?
Can the human desire to fight, lie, cheat, and steal be stifled?
Don’t forget that, when it came down to it, even daughter betrayed the one being who had been there for her and cared for her for her entire life. I’m not saying she didn’t have a good reason, but she did still resort to (probably) needless violence.
And that’s where the movie leaves us… with a lot of unanswered questions but a feeling of hope for Daughter and her brother. Or, depending on how you look at it (and if you’re a parent or not) the feeling of total and complete overwhelmingness (did I just invent a new word?) at the idea of this young girl raising thousands of children on her own.
Granted, she can “birth” them on her own timeline… but as someone with three children I don’t think I’ve slept since maybe 2010 so I really hope Daughter is the better human and can pull off the massive task before her. And maybe… just maybe… she can create a better human.
After all… isn’t that what we all strive for as parents?