I Am Mother (2019)

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The beginning of the film places us in an uncertain future, where the environment is polluted and humanity is on the verge of extinction. Inside the underground bunker are thousands of human embryos, and with them is Mother, a robot created to repopulate the Earth after the extinction of humanity. The robot takes one of the embryos and soon the Daughter (Clara Rugaard) arrives. The mother raises the girl, takes care of her, teaches her something every day and tests her knowledge. However, the unique bond between them is threatened when an unexpected intruder (Hilary Swank) appears…

As she grew, Čerka acquired more and more knowledge, and thus her curiosity about what was happening outside the facility grew. It is difficult for her to imagine life with other people, because she has never seen another person, but her genetic make-up has a need to belong to someone or to be a part of something. Her mother cuts her curiosity in the bud, making the excuse that it’s too toxic outside for her to go on an adventure. And then one day there is a knock at the outer door, and with that, Čerka’s life turns upside down.

Unsurprisingly, there is tension between the newcomer and the Mother, as they tell very different stories about what’s going on outside and what the robot’s true role is in it all. Then the futuristic elements of the film are combined with various thought-provoking questions, which, you will agree, is the most important element of a quality sci-fi project. The daughter begins to question her life and everything she knows, and we look for the reasons for the possible lying of the intruder or the robot and the deeper background of what we are watching.

The film raises questions about artificial intelligence and whether it is capable of showing love or compassion. This is certainly not an original idea, but it is interesting, and its concept is surprisingly good. The mother has a lot of small reactions that demonstrate her internal cognitive processes or internal struggle, and the foundation of the entire story is built on these small things. The fact is that the story unfolds in a relatively flat way, but it is striking due to several precisely placed and carefully realized plot twists.

I believe this movie didn’t have a big budget, but that doesn’t stop it from looking impressive. At the beginning of the film, every scene heightens the sense of claustrophobia, with lots of close-ups. As the film progresses, Ćerka’s improved view of the world increases, and this is demonstrated by the camera work, which captures wider shots and takes longer shots. I liked the set design, as well as the imaginative combination of CGI and practical effects (Mother is, in fact, a man in costume).

If you haven’t seen the movie, skip this paragraph because of spoilers. I want to highlight my interpretation of the story, in which Hilary Swank’s character is the first Daughter. There are several details that suggest that, starting with the introduction 13867 days from the extermination, through the fact that the Mother used three embryos and her sentences towards the end you survived all these years as if someone had a plan for you. I am of the opinion that Hilary Swank’s character was  last test for starting a family, because she returned to the bunker at all costs to be with her brother. Hilary’s character is drawing, while the Daughter is dancing – this can also be interpreted as proof of how important, according to the Mother’s system, art is for raising a child.

The actresses in this movie are fantastic. Total Anonymous Clara Rugard was very impressive in the role of the daughter and faithfully portrayed her free, curious spirit. It is up to the task and is a very pleasant surprise. On the other hand, Hilary Swank has a reputation as a quality and respected actress, as the winner of two Oscars for leading roles. Her character here is different from what we’re used to, as she’s not characterised, but serves more as a plot device, but that doesn’t stop her from dominating every frame. Rose Byrne gives The Mother a voice that constantly oscillates between concern and ominousness.