I Am Mother is a Pro-Life Slog

WETA’s handy-work is immaculate as always, basically seamless, and occasionally chilling. Rose Byrne’s eerie calm robot voice has something to do with the latter, and it’s good to see Hillary Swank lending her rough-and-tumble grit to the movies again. “Slow” is a lazy pejorative when assessing film, primarily because it’s too easy to hear that and believe a writer or commentator is either short-witted or fickle. Short attention spans are all too common in this time of YouTube and Snapchat. If you’re not going, going, going, you’re boring, boring, boring. I Am Mother is a film that holds your attention for as long as you’re not certain what’s happening, why Mother is caring for the human race, and what killed the homosapien dinosaurs. Once the cards are on the table, and it’s all so unsurprisingly derivative of so many tales of good humans and misguided robots, the slog is on and “slow” is no longer a fickle word. Intriguingly, I Am Mother posits a clear pro-life message. There’s even a moment where young heroine Daughter (Clara Rugaard) is snooping around and discovers the ashy remains of babies and children disposed, with a bright red light flashing ABORTED on a computer screen. She proceeds to break into tears. Such imagery pops up throughout, the camera lovingly framing human embryos to angelic, ethereal music. It’s like a church choir saw Blade Runner and decided to protest in song. I Am Mother is an excellent WETA reel and, eventually, a rather conventional take on the existential what-if of mankind and artificial intelligence.

Grade: C

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