Mother/Android Image

NOW ON HULU: Mattson Tomlin’s heart-wrenching Mother/Android transforms a woodland science fiction/horror tale into a deep-diving dramatic exploration of love under attack during war. Georgia (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a college-aged girl living in an alternate reality where human-looking androids are servants. Georgia and her boyfriend Sam (Algee Smith) have discovered she is pregnant right before they go to a Christmas party. This makes for a hell of an awkward time during the holidays. And wouldn’t you know it, the androids chose Christmas to rise up and slaughter their human masters. 

So after one of the most festive visions of the apocalypse ever, time jumps nine months with the North American Android vs. Human war in full swing and Georgia about to give birth. She and Sam sleep in abandoned buildings and forage for food as civilization has collapsed. They are trying to make way to Boston, as they have heard there are ships taking families overseas to peaceful countries. But first, they have to find a way through a forest crawling with androids who never sleep.

Let’s first unload the quibble car of this train so we can then get to the remarkable aspects. Mother/Android is one dreary m**********r. Everything is a dirty brown, off-grey, or sickly green. While art direction that is soggy and rotten is appropriate for the subject matter, spending so much time in the murk is taxing. Also, sci-fi viewers will immediately see how derivative the premise is, with the replicant uprising a la Blade Runner poured like cold coffee into a well-worn 28 Days Later mug.

Plus, this is another example of filmmakers going out into the woods to rub two sticks together and make a movie. I review mostly low-budget titles and see this forest setting a lot, double-digit amounts. The filmmaker works hard to make the setting relevant but doesn’t hide all the hiking the viewer is in for. So we have a lack of variety in setting and tone and yet another zombie picture. If that is the case, why should you bother?

“…the androids chose Christmas to rise up and slaughter their human masters.”

To start with, Mother/Android does a masterful job of genuinely mixing science fiction and horror. Sci-fi is hard-wired into the story in a crucial way. The robots are more than zombies in a spacesuit. Now add in the very effective horror elements. The house of torture the androids operate is particularly eerie, with their glowing eyes. While the genre ingredients are familiar, the outcome will satisfy fans of the fantastical.

Overall, the genre elements are sugar to help some hard dramatic medicine go down. The agony of wartime is hard to translate to an audience, as only a section may understand the reasons behind the insanity of any given military action. Presenting the roots of the conflict in a science-fiction context allows a greater identification with the survivors’ situation. This allows the story to use its greatest strength, an absolutely stunning performance by Moretz.

While an accomplished character actress, Moretz shows she has an emotional depth that can go into the darkest extremes of feelings. With Smith providing the perfect, steadfast base of perseverance to react against, the actor gives a command lead performance that ought to be considered in the upcoming awards season. She takes hold of emotions many will never experience and transmits them clearly to the audience. I will never underestimate her again as someone only adept at swearing and killing people.

In the end, Mother/Android is a dramatic triumph that uses cosmic horror alchemy to get some serious expressionism across. It is well worth the trip into the dark woods.

Mother/Android (2021)

Directed and Written: Mattson Tomlin

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Algee Smith, Raul Castillo, Hana Kim, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Mother/Android Image

"…a dramatic triumph that uses a cosmic horror alchemy to get some serious expressionism across."

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  1. José says:

    It’s great that you enjoy this movie somehow but maybe because I’ve seen this idea of the mother protecting her kids a lot and a lot better presented I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this piece, you’re right Moretz is an excellent actress so bad her talent is wasted in a such illogical tale.

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