Movie Monday: I Am Mother

Yesterday was Father’s Day, what a weird juxtaposition.

Anyway, that’s right, I gave Netflix’s newest movie a shot: I Am Mother. I was apprehensive going into the movie, because I’m not the biggest fan of Hilary Swank, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe her acting. But, either way, it’s not a big enough issue to keep me from enjoying the movie. Here’s the trailer, up front, and we’ll do some discussing afterward.

I’ll avoid spoilers, like last time, except I will be including a spoiler-y section at the end.

So, the movie centers around a shelter of some sorts, created by humans in the event of a disaster scenario that leaves the planet uninhabitable and dangerous. It follows Mother, a sentient/semi-sentient droid (robot) that is in place to raise humans, though we only see her raising one: Daughter. That’s right, basic names, with no real identities, in a safe place, with no definable future or past.

Anyway, not very far into the story we’re introduced to Hilary Swank’s character, who — as seen in the trailer — obviously introduces some tension into the story. And boy, does it. What it gives us is a decision of the devil we know and the devil we don’t. Lesser of two evils. That sort of thing. It’s a really interesting dynamic, and it was a really engaging watch… actually, I found myself discussing the plot with my wife for a couple of hours after the movie, and even thinking about it again and again as the day went on.

I’ll not divulge too much of the movie, as to sway your opinion one way or the other, obviously, because even the viewers are left with a choice of determining what is right and what is wrong.

Spoilers below this point…  Highlight the text to expose the spoilers.

Early on we’re introduced to a very loving Mother, who shows us that she cares for Daughter, in the way that she sings to her… er… she plays a singing voice to her. She educates her, plays with her, does art with her, and of course, makes sure she’s fed and well-nourished. She even pinpoints early on, how important it is to have good test scores and making sure that she reaches the threshold. She’s also spent years telling Daughter that there is a contagion on the outside that keeps Daughter safely inside.Then we’re introduced to the tension-maker, Hilary Swank, whose character is injured on the outside. She was shot. At one point, Mother tells Daughter that the bullet that injured their new guest was of human make. This, of course, is a lie. Daughter discovers this to be true, and begins determining a way to escape — after finding out that Mother had “aborted” the other test subjects like herself, WHEN THEY DIDN’T PASS THEIR TEST SCORES! LIKE, WHAT! Daughter even finds a remaining human jaw bone in the incinerator. Like, dude. At the very same time, though, Mother did know best.

Daughter and their guest escapes, at the behest of the guest, who told them they would be returning to the mines to meet the other humans. After travelling for what was described as “not more than a day”, it becomes evident that their guest was lying too, and the entire rest of humanity seems to be dead. Daughter determines herself to go back to save her brother, who was finishing growing in a false womb, and to put down Mother. She’s greeted at the door by a bunch of droids, who threaten to kill her. She tells them she wants to speak to Mother, and they stand down. Then, it’s revealed that Mother is really the single sentient entity that runs all of the other droids. Her one AI consciousness is responsible for every other droid on the planet. She also helps Daughter come to a conclusion as to what to do with her life, going so far as to relinquish her life to entrust that daughter can raise the return of humanity — or so we’re led to believe.

The final scene of the movie is a droid entering the shipping container home of Hilary Swank’s character, and Mother closing the door. She eludes to the fact that her survival was intentional, and only to be used as a conduit for the droids to help Daughter succeed. Then, cut to credits.

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