The iMom (2014)

*. Not an entirely new idea. If you read much science fiction you’ll know that the adoption of AI robots into our lives as part of the increasingly complicated “Internet of things” became something of a staple in the 2010s. So here we have a company that delivers live-in robot nannies to couples who have no interest in being parents. What could go wrong?
*. You can be sure things do go wrong, and this is tagged as a horror short though its horror all comes with the twist at the end. Up to that final reveal it’s more like a techno-satire, with the infomercial testimonials playing like the funny ads from the future in movies like Robocop. But there’s a darker undertow in the news programming that’s filled with nothing but war, monster storms, and terrorist attacks. With the world out there such a scary place, who wouldn’t want their home to be a little oasis of peace and calm? Or do the networks who own the news stations also make iMoms? Come to think of it, just what is news and what is advertising?
*. Another note of darkness comes by way of the Biblical-mythic notes that are struck. We will know false prophets by their fruit. Wolves wear sheep’s clothing. Which is referring to . . . iMom? She represents the sinister way technology creeps into our lives, seemingly making our lives better but then exacting a terrible (or Biblical) price. Indeed, is iMom one of the of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, a domestic catastrophe on par with the war and plague that suffuses the news feeds?
*. It’s hard to read her that way, since what happens is the result of a random accident, what seems to be a power surge caused by the storm. This complicates any interpretation. Einstein’s line about how technology has “exceeded our humanity” is provided as an epigraph, but iMom doesn’t represent AI taking over. She hasn’t exceeded humanity so much as moved in to provide a humanity that the parents now lack, and she doesn’t take over so much as break down. Even she knows that she’s neither wolf nor sheep but just a device programmed to perform certain tasks, her “fruits,” without thought or feeling. She isn’t good or bad. The problem is that she’s been left in charge of too much, humans having abdicated responsibility for everything that’s most important. Even the son’s sexual coming of age, we sense, is going to be taken care of by the fetching figure of iMom. Meanwhile, you think those security cameras are going to help keep tabs on things? The killer is inside the house!
*. Not an anti-tech parable then, but an anti-human one. The glossy look of the film plays well against the sketchier television clips, suggesting again that blurring of the line between advertising and content (iMom is even better than the real thing!). I was led to wonder if there was any limit to the kid’s “screen time” when the house itself was so pervaded by screeniness. Come to think of it, why wasn’t realMom working from home? Why would she even want to go outside? It’s scary out there.

35 thoughts on “The iMom (2014)

    1. Alex Good

      I’m trying to build you up after King John. Pretty soon you’ll be able to handle one-reeler serials. Just my way of combating the attention-deficit generation.

      1. tensecondsfromnow

        I’m still working my way through King John, the extended version has an extra 2 seconds of flailing and eye rolling which really changes the overall viewing experience. Have you run out of films? I’ll send over some Chuck Norris…

      2. Alex Good Post author

        I think that’s the director’s cut of King John. But I went with the theatrical release version because I think the studio’s edits were astute.

      3. tensecondsfromnow

        They should have gone with a mini-series, there’s just too much to unpack in one story. Or at least split it over several films like the Hunger Games. Great chance to kick off the King John cinematic universe and they blew it.

  1. fragglerocking

    Good morning Monsieur, that was well done. I did guess she was going to swap the baby for the chicken so the end wasnt a surprise, but it was nicely filmed photographically speaking. Wouldn’t surprise me if one day people all have i-slaves.

    1. Alex Good

      I actually wasn’t expecting the swap until close to the end. It was sort of a slow dawning awareness. It does have a nice look to it.
      We’re getting closer to this kind of world all the time with the Internet of things and people controlling all their home settings while they’re at work by way of their phones. And we have robot pets and such things too. It’s coming. Automated day care can’t be far off.

      1. Alex Good Post author

        Preach! What gets me is when you’re at a dinner with a bunch of people and every time someone asks a question hands all go to the cell phone to look up the answer. Nobody even tries to think or remember anything for themselves anymore. Drives me bananas. It must be making us stupid.

      2. Alex Good Post author

        I don’t, but I do have friends who are members of trivia teams that do these things.
        What I was referring to was just when a subject comes up in conversation that nobody can remember properly. Like “when was the Panama Canal built?” or “what are the seven deadly sins?” I remember when the latter questions came up and everyone started googling it and I told them all to stop and try to think for themselves what they were. It’s a good question. Most people can get six no problem, but there’s always one, and it’s a different one for different people, that they don’t get. I’ve heard it said that the one you can’t think of is the one you subconsciously realize you are most guilty of . . .

      1. Over-The-Shoulder

        An absolute classic. “Motorola, on 3 April 1973 were first company to mass produce the the first handheld mobile phone.” After that great achievement, I had to have one. Ever since, the younger generation have followed me. We have our own little ‘Motorola Cult’.

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