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I Am Mother Turns Maternal Movies On Its Head

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I Am Mother(Netflix)

Starring  Clara Rugaard, Hillary Swank

Directed by  Grant Sputore

Rating: **(2 stars)

 There are  only two human characters  in this dystopian futuristic  Netflix film that presumes  the world  would one day be extinct of all feelings except  the  maternal. That’s  a sturdy  premise to build an emotional sci-fi upon. However  the  brittle plot  snaps in vital places  showing the fissures  and  gaps in any  argument that presumes the  human race to be  hurling towards self-destruction.

I Am Mother wants  to go gently  into the (tormented) night. The  relationship between  the  ‘daughter’(21 year old Danish  actress Clara Rugaard pulling  off a much younger character)  and  the  robot ‘mother’(speaking  in  the  nurturing  voice of  Rose Byrne) is  done up  in shades  of  gratifiying  equanimity.  The  interior of  the  bunker where the Robot-mother brings up her over-protected daughter  is  meticulously  designed. It gives  a feeling of a cold clinical detached home at odds with the maternal protectiveness that the  robot-mother showers on  the little girl.

The tensions that emerge  between the two when a gritty  implacable far  from vulnerable (does Hillary Swank know   any other way to be?)  human stranger arrives in the midst  of the  mother-daughter duo. The ensuing dramatic tension is  only partially explored as  the plot  propels itself into a self-generated hysteria about a universe  on  the  brink of  cataclysm.

 The problem with I  Am  mother  is in its awkward tonal  shift. It tries to  leap from the nurturing intimacy  of  the bunker into a world  of  devastation and  ruin, but  slips somewhere  in the chasm that separates  the  notion  of  ruination from redemption.

Nonetheless  , this is a  reasonably  engaging  plot  with the  two human actors  Hillary Swank and Clara Rugaard  trying their utmost to ensure we don’t miss a larger human population in the  apocalyptic intimacy  of isolation. But  the  film is eventually felled  by its  failure to fuel the  frisson between  human and robotic instincts.

 We know these  characters are  troubled . But we are unable to care enough for them.

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