When I sat down to watch Mother/Android, I was expecting a thrill-a-minute post-apocalyptic horror movie with androids playing the part of the usual fast-moving zombies. While that is still a large part of the film, the premise stretches far further than that. The question is, does it stretch itself too far?
Mother/Android stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Algee Smith as initially reluctant parents-to-be who decide to escape to a Boston safe zone for their baby’s birth after the world’s working class of androids rises up against all humans. The problem is, this safe zone is surrounded by a no-man’s-land of torturous androids and unhelpful humans.
The other problem is, Georgia (Moretz) and Sam (Smith) are not exactly in love with each other.
As you might imagine, there’s plenty of conflict and turmoil between these two characters. They’re both masterfully portrayed by the two young actors, but it feels like they’re trying to be in a boy-seeks-girl romantic drama, a post-apocalyptic survival thriller, and a horror flick all at the same time.
Personally, I don’t have anything against that combination. It could be interesting if given the proper balance and space, but Mother/Android feels like it’s trying to cram all of this complexity into a less-than-two-hour movie.
That’s not to say it’s a bad movie. I actually quite liked it. I felt connected to the characters and I empathized with their situation. But I also felt like there were too many short samplings of plot points that could have benefitted from more definition. I mean, we saw the androids as helpers for like 5 minutes before they went berserk. As the collective antagonists, I would have liked to see more backstory and connection from them.
Mother/Android is Mattson Tomlin’s directorial debut as it showcases a parallel struggle that his own Romanian parents dealt with during the country’s 1989 revolution. It’s all about the sacrifice and desperation of facing a situation where your choices are severely limited.
And for that, I commend this film. That desperation came across loud and clear and by the time we hit that final climax, you can feel the couple’s exhaustion, both physical and mental.
The movie is intense, it has some incredibly high energy scenes, and a few little twists that keep it interesting. I like the fact that it was better than I expected, but I think that’s also a curse because I wanted to see more.
Ultimately, Mother/Android is a good date-night movie. You can watch it with your significant other while you discuss what you’d do in a similar situation and say things like “I’m not as crazy as she is, right? RIGHT?!”