Friday, June 14, 2019

I Am Mother (2019)

Movie Name/Year: I Am Mother (2019)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Length: 113 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production/Distribution: Netflix, StudioCanal, The Penguin Empire, Southern Light Films, Rhea Films, Southern Light Alliance
Director: Grant Sputore
Writers: Grant Sputore, Michael Lloyd Green
Actors: Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne, Tahlia Sturzaker, Jacob Nolan, Summer Lenton, Hazel Sandery

Blurb from IMDb: A teenage girl is raised underground by a kindly robot "Mother" -- designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.

Cat's Point of View:
The trailer for this film had my sci-fi loving heart aflutter. I held onto my inner optimist tightly, in hopes that the movie would deliver as promised.

The payoff? Impressive.

Had I not looked I Am Mother up on IMDb for article research post-viewing, I would never have dreamed that this was the feature directorial debut for Grant Sputore (Kill Me Three Times, Legacy, Castaway¹).

This particular dystopian future was engrossing right away. Dread filled the first moments as the audience is both literally and figuratively kept in the dark. Threads of hope were expertly woven into the rug that eventually gets pulled from beneath our feet with the twists and turns the story takes.

The concept of A.I. interacting with humanity is not a new theme for big nor small screens; but this movie views the idea from a new perspective. Is machine-manufactured nurturing possible? This definitely wasn’t rehashing The Terminator (1984) or The Matrix (1999).

I loved the female-led cast. Clara Rugaard (The Lodge, Still Star-Crossed, Teen Spirit) deftly captured the essence of Daughter, and had me hanging on her every decision. I’m interested to see where her career goes from here. Hilary Swank (P.S. I Love You, Amelia, Logan Lucky) was a great choice for the character crashing the party, so to speak. Her role was gritty and visceral. The dynamic between the two drove the plot well through its twists and turns. We don’t see Rose Byrne (Knowing, Damages, Peter Rabbit) on the screen, but her voice croons to us as the embodiment of Mother.  Her tone, both soothing and firm, makes you want to believe everything Mother is telling us, and at the same time provides the ideal seed of doubt. We all question when something is too perfect, right?

My only nitpick about the whole film was that it left me wanting more. I had so many questions still. The film was a little on the long side but at the same time, I could have kept watching. With the steady pacing of the majority of the film, the ending felt a bit jarring – as if the tale stopped short.

I Am Mother was quite the roller-coaster ride that I definitely wouldn’t mind taking again. I am hoping that Sputore builds on this momentum and continues to bring us nuanced and interesting stories like this one.

(¹ - Castaway (2011) refers to the TV series, not the feature film)ad

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore – 62/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.1/10
IMDB Score – 6.9/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat's Rating – 4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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