I Am (a disappointed) Mother (Netflix)
[This review was contributed by (AF).]
As I prepared for another binge-worthy journey into Netflix, I AM MOTHER flashed across my screen as an advertisement. I watched it without going for the skip button. So, reasonably optimistic and armed with a bowl of popcorn, I pressed play.
The story is set in a hopefully uber distant future centered around an Android raising a child within a well-supplied iron fortress. As the child grows up, she becomes curious about the outside world and questions why her mother (the android) keeps her inside.
Enter Hillary Swank’s character known in the credits as woman. She is the catalyst for the young girl’s rebellion. The first act set up the movie with minimal exposition. It’s geared towards a timeline showing the child and machine’s relationship. Fast forward into adolescence and the Daughter presses the red button into action.
Now, I was ok with Clara Rugaard (the daughter) and her acting, but I thought the Swank factor would give me better quality. I was genuinely interested in the second act.
It had me saying “Really?” a couple of times.
But ultimately, Rugaard and Swank didn’t have chemistry or maybe Swank was not happy with her Netflix movie. Either way, it showed in her performance.
Meanwhile, by the third act, the story was going down a weird path. It seemed like the directors realized they made a mistake and then tried to change directions. They added some smoke, dramatic lighting and slow walking to work in a twist try and save the movie.
Mind you, I was impressed with the computer graphics and constantly wondered, “How’d they do that?”
If you watch this movie, you are either going to be surprised or you’re going to roll your eyes at the forced surprise created by the directors. The end wasn’t executed cleanly. I didn’t accept certain character reactions and the story line pay off wasn’t enough for me, but I maintained my resolve to finish the movie.
False Artificial Intelligence
While watching this movie, I wondered if forming an attachment to a machine without a heartbeat could make one feel loved. I love my car. I gave it a name and I talk to it like it’s my baby. I repair it, take care of it and in some weird way, I feel satisfied that beyond the Sell By Date, she still works.
Our human need for companionship and familiarity, at the risk of being hurt, is based on our emotional motivation to acquire a genuine connection. Are we taking for granted that living things are the only entities that desire a connection?
Movies constantly portray the evolution of artificial intelligence as a killing enigma with a growing consciousness and essential affection for a special human. For example, The Terminator, Ex Machina, Her, I Robot and now this movie.
Yes, we always, in the end, are unable to coexist. It’s scary that we keep telling a story about trying to form a connection with a heartless machine.
I AM MOTHER isn’t the next Birdbox, so better luck next time Netflix.