As a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama film, Mother/Android delves into the increasingly popular question of what will happen if the Artificial Intelligence that we are so keenly developing grows too intelligent and insists on its own freedom? Telling the story of a pregnant woman and her boyfriend, Mother/Android is a mixture of excitement and disappointment, making it quite an average watch.
The film begins with Georgia and Samuel finding out that they are pregnant, at a younger age than they had initially hoped for. That very night, while at a friend’s party, they experience what is later called the ‘Blitz’, a sudden attack of the AI robots on their human masters all across the United States. Somehow escaping the android attendant Eli at the friend’s house, Georgia and Sam manage to evade the attacks and are next seen almost eight or nine months later. The couple is now living in a tent in the woods. The androids have already taken over major cities and killed countless humans, pushing the remaining ones to camps in forests and selected cities.
Amidst all this, Georgia and Sam plan on getting to Boston before their baby arrives, Boston being a safe space for humans still, and also because they have heard rumors of a program according to which families with pregnant women or newborn babies will be able to leave the country and settle somewhere in Asia. They arrive at one army camp inside the forest, where they are advised by the camp doctor to stay put till Georgia gives birth, but some of Sam’s actions get them expelled from the camp. All on their own, the heavily pregnant Georgia and her boyfriend set out towards “No Man’s Land”, an abandoned stretch where android robots rule and attack any humans they can find, which falls in their way towards Boston.
It is the theme of human love that is central in the film, and at its core is the relationship between Georgia and Samuel. With the realization that they are about to become parents at the very beginning of the film, a sense of misunderstanding is clearly visible between them. While Georgia is mostly displeased and worried by the idea of becoming a mother so young, Sam is unclear of what his partner wants but assures that he will be supportive of her decision. Soon after, Georgia admits to her friend that she is unsure of whether she even wants to stay with him despite him asking her to get married.
Although their love and concern for each other seem to have grown over the time that passes unseen, the sense of misunderstanding and the two not being on the same page persists. When they have a discussion on what might happen if the father is not allowed to leave the country in the Boston program, Sam insists that Georgia leaves for Korea with the baby out of care and concern for them. But Georgia sees it as Sam’s plan to get rid of his girlfriend and their baby by literally putting them on a ship to a different continent. It is only over time spent in the company of each other, and also over their coming baby, that the couple bond and grow strong as a unit.
The major disappointment about the film, however, is the glaring absence of any sort of perspective of the androids. In a world where hate-mongering is on the rise and specifically in a genre that is gradually trying to explore situations from other viewpoints, ‘Mother/Android’ surprisingly steers clear of it. From the classic Blade Runner films in cinema to Sony Interactive’s celebrated videogame Detroit: Become Human in mass media in general, it is the angle of the attacking deviants or AI. They choose to break the programming that reveals their position as victims and make them relatable.
In Mother/Android, however, that potential is completely undealt with—the androids are seen to revolt all of a sudden and take over human civilization, without any explanation for their actions or any motivation for their vengeful violence on humans. Shown only as conniving and blood-thirsty torturers, the film, intentionally or not, shows all Artificial Intelligence as the Other, whose only existence is as the opposite of the Self, or in this case, humans. It is not even that the Mother/Android tries to explore and even understand the attacks. Instead, it simply looks away unabashedly, marking all AI as clear public enemy number one. It is not that all humans are shown positively. The selfish intentions of men of flesh and blood are highlighted in more than one instance. But helpful humans with good intentions abound in the film, and any such perspective from the other side would have perhaps added a much-needed depth to the entire situation and world shown.
The most probable explanation for the absence of perspective mentioned above is that Mother/Android chooses to be a drama film at its core. Despite the world around us being post-apocalyptic and with enough elements of the science fiction genre, at the center of the film is the young couple and the extent to which they do things for the safety and well-being of their baby. It is particularly Georgia (characterized well by Chloe Grace Moretz) who stands out as a character, and her struggles to take her baby to safety make her a Mother standing against crowds of Androids, rather than merely a human facing her foes. With average cinematic technicalities and filmmaking, but a narrative quite hooking, Mother/Android can be given a watch by any follower of the science fiction genre in particular and drama in general.
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Mother/Android is a 2021 post-apocalyptic that stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Algee Smith in the lead roles.