Parents' Guide to

I Am Mortal

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Preachy sci-fi explores themes of life and death.

Movie NR 2022 83 minutes
I Am Mortal Movie Poster

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This is an actionless futuristic sci-fi with heady topics that may not interest most kids. I Am Mortal explores the meaning of life, death, and existence, with some Sartre and C.S. Lewis quotes along the way. It's expressed not so much through the flat story of characters in a futuristic society of muted colors and bland '80s office buildings, but through preachy debate that makes the work of Ayn Rand seem subtle by comparison. We get very little about how this attempt at a post-pandemic "utopian" 23rd-century society actually operates, except that people live forever but they're put to sleep when they reach the peak of their physical and mental powers. Or something.

Besides the weird lapses in story logic happening throughout, some of the social commentary the movie is trying to make about our own world comes across as highly problematic. For instance, in this future world, people are kept happy and docile through medication given the blanket term "Maintenance," and when the lead characters stop taking their "maintenance," they experience remarkable clarity and lucidity about the world around them and how they feel and think. It's a mostly dated and borderline offensive commentary on mental illness as more of a societal construct than actual illness. Yes, harmony through pharmaceuticals has been an aspect of futuristic/dystopian sci-fi for a long time, but here such depictions come across as dated as astronauts in '60s sci-fi smoking cigarettes while landing on Neptune.

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