The groundbreaking indie sci-fi film I Am Mother debuted on Netflix this weekend, bringing a fresh take on a tired robotic trope.
The industry is oversaturated with movies and television shows involving robots attempting to take over humanity. I Am Mother manages to do something different by isolating the story and making it more personal.
Moreso, the ending leaves a lot for the viewer to consider as the credits roll. I Am Mother is a movie that believes its audience is smart, and it doesn’t spoon feed them the answers.
But still, some aspects of the movie’s conclusion are more ambiguous than others.
What does the I Am Mother ending mean and what happened? Here is everything to know about the film’s mind-bending finale.
I Am Mother ending explained
The film stars Rose Byrne as the robot named Mother and centers on her relationship with a girl she raised from embryo to birth called Daughter (Clara Rugaard-Larsen).
Through much of the first half of the film, the story portrays a convincing mother and daughter relationship between robot and human. This dynamic is thanks to a brilliantly understated vocal performance by Byrne as the mysterious robot.
What the film reveals is humanity died off from disease (according to Mother) and Mother herself is tasked with repopulating the Earth in a protected laboratory.
Her first embryo of choice being Daughter, who she feeds, trains, and educates to be a better human than the ones before her.
However, this turns out to be untrue as a stranger only known as Woman emerges outside the laboratory bunker and Daughter lets her inside despite Mother’s warnings to keep the outside world from getting in due to toxic disease.
What Daughter eventually learns is there was never a disease that killed humans — only robots controlled by a single consciousness powered by Mother.
To make matters scarier, Daughter is not the first embryo girl Mother brought to life, and she finds ashes of previous “Daughters” Mother killed because they failed a test.
Once this happens, Daughter escapes the laboratory bunker with Woman out of fear for her life.
After escaping, she follows Woman to a shipping container where she lives. At this point, and Daughter realizes that Woman lied to her about there being other survivors.
The problem is that Daughter has a brother being born and refuses to leave him behind for her mortality. Woman stresses that looking after one’s self is not a sin. She can be selfish for her own survival.
Daughter doesn’t listen and returns to Mother to rescue her baby brother.
This is the moment the story becomes incredibly refreshing and different. As Daughter returns to the lab, she is greeted by Mother with open arms. Mother is still testing whether or not she raised Daughter correctly.
As the film reaches its climax, Daughter confronts Mother, who is holding her brother. It’s at this point that Mother reveals why she did not kill her like the previous “Daughters.”
She is more elevated than any other human before her. Daughter is more selflessly motivated and nurturing.
Daughter manages to trick her robot mother into giving her the baby, runs, and traps Mother’s leg in an electric door. As Mother grows aggravated by her Daughter’s actions, she begins sending all the outside robots to break in and stop Daughter.
Daughter than pleads with Mother to give her a chance to be the person she raised her to be, to allow her to restart the human race and teach the next generation of humans to be selfless as Mother intended.
Knowing the daughter’s actions are not selfish, she calls off all the outside robots and orders Daughter to shoot her in the chest where her CPU chip resides.
However, Mother hints that she will be around if Daughter ever needs her. Daughter says, “I won’t” and then kills Mother.
What happened to Woman in I Am Mother?
This point of the film is where everything becomes a bit unclear. As the movie comes to a finish, it cuts back to Woman who is drawing a picture of Daughter in one of her books.
Soon after, she finds a GPS tracker inside her bag, obviously placed there by Mother. She realizes Mother is standing right outside the shipping container door.
Mother makes a menacing comment about Woman trying to steal her Daughter, and Woman explains she was never going to hurt the girl. Mother finally makes an interesting quip about Woman’s existence, saying:
“Tell me. Do you remember your mother? Curious, isn’t it? That you’ve survived so long where others have not. As if someone’s had a purpose for you.
Right after this, Mother slams the container door, and it is implied Woman dies. The reasons for this are not entirely clear but could fall under two different possibilities.
The first possibility is that Mother was also testing Woman to see whether she could be selfless among humanity on the outside. The film implies Woman survived at the expense of others. This revelation could be why Mother felt the need to exterminate her existence.
The second possibility is that Woman was intentionally placed on the outside to encounter Daughter and test whether Daughter would choose selfish behavior over anything else.
Right after Daughter passed the test, Woman served her purpose, and Mother felt the need to rid her of ever trying to influence Daughter again.
Either motivation proves that Woman was meant to serve a purpose, and once that purpose ended, Mother felt the need to end her existence.
Woman’s ending is a sad one, and viewers have a lot to ponder. At what point do selfishness and self-protection collide?
What is the responsibility of humanity when it comes to ensuring that future generations like Daughter flourish? Viewers have several questions worth debating.
To consider the relationship between Humanity and technology, I Am Mother is worth a watch.
I Am Mother is streaming on Netflix now.