The science fiction drama is told in an oppressive chamber play atmosphere I AM MOTHER about a little girl whose only contact is a caring robot. But of course it’s not quite as harmonious as this constellation sounds. We reveal more about this in our review.
Who is the strange woman seeking refuge in the bunker?
The plot summary
A teenage girl called “Daughter” (Clara Rugaard) lives in an underground high-security bunker and is raised by a humanoid robot called “Mother” (voiced by Rose Byrne). The android was designed to repopulate the Earth after the extinction of humanity. The special relationship between the two is threatened when a strange woman (Hilary Swank) covered in blood unexpectedly appears in front of the bunker’s airlock and screams for help, completely distraught. The mere existence of these strangers turns “Daughter’s” entire world upside down, and little by little she begins to view her only parent as a potential threat. In a breathtaking finale, “Daughter” must come face to face with “Mother” to discover the truth about her world and her true mission.
I Am Mother Movie Meaning & ending
Around five years ago, the science fiction drama “Ex_Machina,” which was made with just $15 million, not only thrilled audiences and critics, it also helped Alicia Vikander achieve her final breakthrough and win the Oscars in the “Best Visual Effects” category against big-name films like “Mad Max: Fury Road” , “The Martian” and “Star Wars” . In terms of staging, “I Am Mother”, which went straight to Netflix in the USA and is still in cinemas in Germany, is similar to the reduced concept of “Ex_Machina”. Here, too, only two or a maximum of three figures are the focus of the very cramped scenery of a single building and the tension arises primarily from the interaction between them, the spying on each other’s strengths and weaknesses as well as withheld information that only gradually comes to the surface and later let the world that was built collapse in on itself. At this point the similarities end, because director and screenwriter Alex Garland (“Extinction”) proved to be a perfidious human observer who not only teases out the best possible ambiguity from his characters, but also the audience’s expectations with cleverness and surprises Always knew how to break things down, “I Am Mother” author Michael Lloyd Green relies on clumsy symbolism in his feature film debut, which director Grant Sputore has nothing to counteract except pretty, glossy images.
The design of the robot simply called “Mother” is convincing.
In one of the first scenes of “I Am Mother” we see the appropriately skeptical daughter played by Clara Rugaard (“Teen Spirit”) and her robot mother at a school lesson. It is about the equally moral and ethical question of whether one should kill one person to ensure the well-being of many people, or whether one should never sacrifice even a single person and, in case of doubt, have to accept the death of many others. A classic thought experiment that many generations of students have already had to go through. Ferdinand von Schirach addressed this question in his controversial play “Terror,” which he followed up with a no less scandalous film in 2016. And in 2014, “The Philosophers,” which was both ugly and extremely clumsy, also carried out a thought experiment based on this question without even thinking about it further in any way. Both films treat their thought experiments too one-sidedly and thereby convey a false image of the broad field of philosophical discourse. After all: in the case of “I Am Mother” this question is limited to a school lesson. At the same time, it is a classic joke: of course the film will come back to this thought experiment as it progresses and of course the entire mystery surrounding the secret bunker that is supposed to protect mother and daughter from the contaminated outside world will at some point be answered in the answer to this one question explain.
Of course, this subtle foreshadowing doesn’t have to mean the death knell for “I Am Mother”. Especially not since director Grant Sputore proves in his first feature film that he has a good instinct for building a fundamentally exciting atmosphere using fewer resources. Also thanks to the very reduced setting, which consists only of laboratory-like rooms and barren corridors and in which the excellently animated mother in particular moves forward so quietly that you never know whether she is really gone or perhaps lurking around the next corner the cards are clearly dealt from the start. We discover the world through daughter’s eyes and perceive insecurities and increasing skepticism with age from her perspective. Sometimes these are just details in the dialogue between her and mother that indicate that something is not right here. For example, when the robot avoids questions about her daughter’s origins and the world “out there”. This becomes a little more clear the first time a living creature enters the bunker from outside and mother makes short work of it – the poor mouse! On the one hand, of course, this means that “I Am Mother” doesn’t keep quiet about the fact that there’s actually something completely different behind the facade that promises protection. For comparison: With “Ex_Machina” you never knew whether the final conflict would take place within the four walls or whether it was actually a much larger, literally earth-shattering problem. On the other hand, Sputore maintains the tension as long as he can, repeatedly testing Mother’s good-natured façade until he finally breaks the harmonious façade around a third of the way through the running time and Hilary Swank (“Luck by My Side”) enters granted into the bunker.
The moment in which the daughter of the strange woman gives refuge in the bunker is roughly reminiscent of the first part of “The Purge” saga, in which a young man at the last second helps a stranger find shelter in his own house while outside the mob rages. There are two possibilities: Either the person you have just invited is a victim of “those out there” and you have just done a good work. Or you have a problem now. Here “I Am Mother” is subject to a bit of the typical “crime scene” dilemma: just a glance at the clock is enough to see when and which secrets will be revealed here and thus also that the woman’s sudden appearance is definitely still possible will have far-reaching consequences for the mother-daughter structure. The further “I Am Mother” progresses, the more the sci-fi drama becomes a counting rhyme; not with sacrifices, but with possible twists and turns. If one doesn’t happen, only the other can happen; the characters don’t go this way, they can only go that way. Only the question of who will be left until the end provides the film with enough nourishment until the very end so that it doesn’t completely run out of steam. Up until a certain phase in the film, “I Am Mother” still has a pretty oppressive atmosphere. But at the latest when the clues condense in a certain direction and the film even moves beyond the bunker scenery, the story collapses under its crude theories and philosophical platitudes. This has some outrageous twists and turns, especially on the home stretch, that it’s best not to think about in order to buy anything from the script.
Conclusion: “I Am Mother” is without a doubt atmospheric and maintains this feeling most of the time thanks to its oppressive chamber play staging. However, neither the production nor the great actresses can stand up to the clumsy foreshadowing and the strenuously philosophical superstructure, which would collapse at the slightest doubt.
“I Am Mother” can be seen in USA cinemas from August 22nd.