Even if you aren't hooked by the imagined dystopian future or unhurried pace, you may still appreciate the tale's central psychological paradox and potential for social commentary. We worry about robots taking over our jobs, but how much more unsettling is the idea of robots taking over our most precious family roles, including that of mother?
I Am Mother's script, which was generating buzz long before it got produced and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (where Netflix picked it up), transforms the most loving and trusted figure in a young girl's life into a robot. With a human enough figure and an affectionate female voice, "Mother" is programmed to read and respond perfectly to the emotional states of "Daughter."
But, alas, the robot cannot feel human emotion and is ultimately designed to serve a higher purpose than nurturing just one individual.
The way Mother has raised and educated Daughter to be technically competent and ethically principled might offer a view into what is considered ideal human knowledge and behavior. Compare her to the angry, defensive Woman, who stumbles into the facility and cracks Daughter's sheltered world.
Enterprising viewers may also find broader messages in the story about what it means to be a good parent and raise a good child, the importance of family and belonging, and the intrinsic value of individual lives, or look for implications on social issues like homeschooling and embryo cryopreservation.
In I Am Mother, humans designed the robots that are now designing the humans, and it's suggested that the failure of the human species was inevitable. All of these juicy propositions in the script are served by the film's futuristic yet claustrophobic set design, the director's focus on characters' expressions and reactions, and the actors' convincing performances.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.