Lately it feels like every movie has us thinking, “what the fuck did I just watch?” In this series, we will break down exactly what happened in all those wild, mind-bendy, and just plain strange flicks…in a way that’s much easier to understand than the actual film.
This post contains spoilers for I Am Mother.
You are Mother. Mother is me. We’re a happy family… That’s how the song goes, right? No? Anyway, let’s discuss the wild new Netflix sci-fi thriller in a way that actually makes sense.
It’s as simple as this: Humankind built a robot that was totally obsessed with her. Unfortunately, said robot was a total crazy stage mom and didn’t think humans were living up to their full potential, so it completely wiped them off the face of the earth. Fast forward a few years, and Mother—who has the voice of Rose Byrne and whips out embryos like they’re a packet of stamps—finally managed to gestate a daughter who is superior to the last round of people she’s tried to create (she incinerated at least three previous “females” who didn’t measure up.) Don’t ask about the science of it all, they don’t explain.
Did I mention she just calls her new protégé Daughter? That’s her entire name.
Daughter (Clara Rugaard) grows up happy and really good at ballet, with no access to the outside world, which is supposedly toxic and uninhabitable. All she wants is a little sister or brother. She’s minding her own business when one evening, while Mother is asleep (read: recharging), an angry lady with a gun comes-a-knockin’. We never get her name. IMDB calls her Woman.
Woman (Hilary Swank) has been shot, apparently by a droid that looks just like Mother. Daughter wants to help her, and starts to become suspicious of Mother. Woman convinces her that the outside world is not contaminated and that robots have taken over in a violent overthrow. She has been hiding in the mines with the resistance. Dang.
Eventually, Woman convinces Daughter that her mom’s a lying bitch, and they escape, but not before Mother and Daughter begin to gestate a new baby boy. Fast forward through a frantic fight scene with mommy dearest and a boring run through wasteland and corn fields, and guess what? Woman is also a liar! No mines! No resistance to help save Daughter’s new brother and all the other embryos! Only a cute dog and canned corn to go around.
Daughter turns tail and goes back to her bunker pretty much immediately. There, she convinces Mother that she is ready to be Mother herself, and Mother lets her shut down the entire system. It’s implied that our girl is going to raise all her thousands of brothers and sisters by herself, and probably let them commit incest to repopulate the planet. The end. What a ride.
The Most WTF moments of ‘I Am Mother’:
- All those embryos and the whole weird gestation routine… What is the science here?! How’d Mother even get all those tiny embryos that are suspiciously already shaped like perfect pink babies? Oh, did I mention they can go from lil’ bean to baby in just 24 hours?
- When Daughter crawls through the ashes of the incinerator to find evidence that Mother has killed little girls like her and finds an actual jawbone! WTF?
- Rose Byrne’s voice will never not be creepy again.
- When Mother reveals to Woman that she basically let her survive all these years just so all this would happen and Daughter would woman up and take over. Huh.
- A movie that’s apparently all about motherhood and female connection (and maybe a little about abortion?) was completely written, directed, and executive produced by men. It’s probably the most messed up detail, but makes a whole lot of sense.