Mother/Android imagines a world in which androids have taken over much of the planet, leaving humanity struggling to survive tech-free in makeshift camps and barely functioning cities. The environment writer/director Mattson Tomlin creates is peppered with intriguing developments like special weapons to fight off the androids and stories of other lands that are AI free. It’s the kind of world-building that would be perfect for a Walking Dead with robots kind of TV show.
Unfortunately, the characters that inhabit this world are largely lifeless. Chloë Grace Moretz and Algee Smith play Georgia and Sam, a couple who are attempting to safely birth a baby during the apocalypse. Moretz does lend the film the occasional pang of emotion, especially in the solid third act. However, the chemistry between Smith and Moretz is nonexistent and can be painful to watch. Smith especially lacks any conviction in his performance, seeming more like an actor who stumbled on set than an anxious father-to-be. It’s this failure to connect with each other and the audience, that makes the first half of Mother/Android a slog to get through.
A lively chase sequence though reenergizes the film and kickstarts a more impactful second act. At the core of this revitalization is Raúl Castillo’s Arthur, a former AI programmer trying to atone for his sins. Castillo brings a quirky complexity to Arthur that makes the audience enjoy and sympathize with him concurrently.
While the concept of motherhood is obviously pervasive throughout Mother/Android and partially pays off in the third act, one must wonder if the world Tomlin created is the right one to tell this story. A mother’s love is stronger than a freight train, but the film’s robotic tone emotional impact sadly wins out in Mother/Android.
The Silver Lining
For a lower-budget production, the visual effects in Mother/Android are quite commendable. The partially destroyed faces of the humanoids look real and feel like something from a lost Terminator film. It brings a sense of authenticity to a film where many of the performances project artificiality.
Mother/Android is now available to stream on Hulu.