This one was definitely a surprise. When it first popped up on Netflix it caught my attention because it was clearly a sci-fi movie, a genre I’m always interested in checking out. Recently, I decided to look a little further into it and after discovering the plot, I finally decided to sit down and watch it. I’ll be honest and say I’m still a little unsure of how I feel about it entirely but I’m definitely glad I checked it out. It’s completely worth it.
The overall premise isn’t necessarily groundbreaking but it is explored and executed in really interesting ways. I Am Mother follows a teenage girl known as daughter (Clara Rugaard) who is raised by a robot – Mother (Luke Hawker, voiced by Rose Byrne) – following an extinction of mankind, however, one day a stranger (Hilary Swank) arrives. The movie is really well paced, albeit a little slow on a couple of occasions, and the overall structure of it is easy to follow even with the many twists and turns along the way. It doesn’t overcomplicate anything and while it is an ambitious movie, it never gets too over the top. That being said, there’s always something going on even if some scenes are very tame.
It also has a minimalist cast, something that I’m a huge sucker for, and it does it so well. Really, there are three characters (the aforementioned ones) and all of them are absolutely phenomenal and completely have you hooked, even Mother who is simply a robot with a voice. Despite limited characters, I Am Mother uses every moment well and there’s constant doubt of who you can trust. Although we do meet and spend a decent amount of time with all three of them, we technically, follow Daughter’s point of view the most. The movie essentially starts with her being born which means we only know as much as she does about the world around her. We actually learn things along side her and that fact of not having all of the details, adds to the horror/thriller elements of the movie because you never truly know what to expect or what pieces of information are actually true.
I Am Mother is actually director Grant Sputore’s feature film debut and it’s a pretty successful one at that. It’s definitely got me intrigued to see what other features he directs in the future. The story is also by him (and is actually his first official writing credit) as well as Michael Lloyd Green (who also gets the screenplay credit). They both did a really great job with it because while I did say the premise isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, it’s still really intriguing and there was clearly a lot of thought put into getting us from the opening of the movie to the closing in as much of a seamless way as possible. Even the twists and turns make sense and every piece of the movie just fits.
I wouldn’t say it was a complete stand out nor is it a massive favourite of mine but I can definitely say that I enjoyed it and it’s worth the watch. It feels like a breath of fresh air when it comes to post-apocalyptic movies. It also looks really great too. There’s nothing particularly bold about the cinematography but it’s still beautiful. The director of photography is Steve Annis who seems to be primarily credited for shorts such as music videos. He really pulled this off and I’m also intrigued to see him work on more bigger projects in the future.
I Am Mother is filled with talent that guarantees you won’t waste your time watching it. I really recommend this to anyone who is already interested in the genres: sci-fi and horror/thriller. The latter elements aren’t too strong but they are subtly present throughout. More than that, I recommend this to anyone who is maybe getting a little bored of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre because there truly is something different about this one.
Rating: ★★★★ /5