I Am Mother review: “a smart, suspenseful and intriguing high-concept sci-fi”

Does Mother know best? Hilary Swank doesn't think so in this claustrophobic tale set in a space-age bunker

Hilary Swank in I Am Mother
4.0 out of 5 star rating

The majority of this dark, twisty sci-fi thriller takes place in a high-tech bunker. Inside, an artificially intelligent robot named Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) is raising a young woman known as Daughter (Clara Rugaard). The rest of mankind is extinct, and Mother insists that nothing can survive on the outside. However, everything changes when a mystery woman (Hilary Swank) bangs on the door…

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Has Mother been lying? The answer to that question is what drives the middle section of Grant Sputore’s low-budget directorial debut. Mother’s voice may be reassuring (thanks to Byrne’s soft, soothing vocals), but there are moments when she is genuinely unsettling.

Importantly, Mother always feels like a real, authentic robot. The ending is a little unclear, but the rest of the film is smart, suspenseful and intriguing. If you like small-scale, high-concept sci-fi (such as Ex Machina or 10 Cloverfield Lane), then I Am Mother is a must-see.

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I Am Mother is now on Netflix