Netflix movies aren’t usually great and I’m not going to lie to you and say that I Am Mother is a perfect movie, but it’s a pretty good one and it’s mostly because of the emotional and ethical dilemmas that the characters in it are exposed to.

Nature vs. Nurture, Free Will vs. Predetermination, and the Needs of the Many vs. the Needs of the Few… I Am Mother is a virtual parade of ethical and moral quandaries all lorded over an entity that is both mysteriously sinister and comfortingly maternal.

I Am Mother takes place after an extinction level event that has wiped out all human life off the planet. In an underground bunker, a robot known only as Mother incubates an embryo and grows it into a baby that it raises for years until the baby becomes a teenage girl. The teenage girl and the robot share a genuine mother/daughter bond and it’s endearing until the day that a desperate living human bangs on the outer airlock begging for help and sending everything that the teenage girl knew about the world and her Mother straight into the toilet.

I don’t really want to to say much more about the plot because a lot of the allure of this movie lies in the fact that there is always doubt about where it’s going to go and that doubt is uncomfortable and unnerving and it gives this movie an extra air of anxiety. You don’t really know if Mother is going to turn against its daughter, you don’t know if daughter is going to turn against Mother, you never really know the motivation or truth of Hillary Swank’s injured stranger… it’s all up in the air and very twisty.

What’s even more impressive about this movie is how good it looks, like a multi-billion dollar special effects spectacular, but honestly… this is just good bare-bones film-making. The Mother character looks like a slick CGI effect that’s done incredibly well, but it actually was a practical on-set effect… a costume and it looked outstanding. It’s such a great thing that this movie looks expensive and isn’t really that costly. Hollywood needs more of this lean mean movie-making.

All in all, this is a movie that is entirely dependent on its dialougue and plot and both are more than satisfactory. It’s thoughtful, uncomfortable, and dripping with liquid dread because the movie is so good about hiding its true meaning and motivation. It even manages some genuine emotions between the daughter and Mother.

Give it a look. You won’t regret it.

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Written by Jason Gaston

Father, teacher, writer, photographer, artist, actor, male model, and inventor of the semicolon.

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