DAVID BIANCULLI

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I AM MOTHER
June 7, 2019  | By David Bianculli

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

 

MOVIE PREMIERE: This is another Netflix acquisition – this time an independent sci-fi film presented at Sundance and gobbled up by Netflix for TV distribution. It’s a tale of a freshly apocalyptic future – whatever the mysterious “extinction event” referred to in the opening scene’s superimposed graphic titles, it took place the day before the movie begins – in which a robot named Mother unfreezes and begins to revive a human fetus, which she brings to term, names Daughter, and raises her as her own. Which, since they’re the only “living” occupants of a heavily fortified repopulation facility, Daughter technically is. All goes well for about 20 years, with Daughter (played, in adult form, by Clara Rugard) schooled and tested and emotionally supported by Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne). But then there’s a visitor from outside – an outside that’s supposed to be lifeless and toxic – whom Daughter lets inside the facility and, at first, hides from Mother in an act of rebellion. The outsider is played by Hilary Swank. And once she arrives on the scene, I Am Mother opens up, in terms of both setting and genre, and shifts into a film that shifts into action and terror mode, without sacrificing or forgetting its emotional underpinnings. Directed by Grant Sputore, it’s a low-budget futuristic story that’s more entertaining and original than expected. Well, than I expected, anyway…

 
 
 
 
 
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