I Am Mortal
Preachy sci-fi explores themes of life and death.
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I Am Mortal
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Am Mortal is a 2022 futuristic sci-fi movie in which a young man wants the right to die in a society that has eliminated death. Through a light faith-based touch, the movie explores heady topics of life, death, and the meaning of existence; this makes the movie best enjoyed by audiences mature enough to reflect on these topics. Like many futuristic sci-fi movies, there are obvious parallels to today's world -- pandemics and societal discord inspire the geneticist who "saves" humanity to eliminate death and foster peace in society and from within through medication called "Maintenance." Brief kissing. The closest this movie gets to anything resembling action and conflict happens when characters are captured (no resistance) and held until their memories are wiped clean.
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What's the Story?
In I AM MORTAL, it's the year 2235, and in the city of Alisandre, death, disease, and conflict have seemingly been completely eliminated by a geneticist and leader known as The Pilot (Sean Gunn). On the verge of undergoing a rite of passage in this society, Logos (Abraham Lewis) is beginning to question his lack of purpose in a world where no one dies. Sensing his search, a group of rebels reach out to him and tell them of how a former colleague of The Pilot's named Helios had the same questions, and how immortality runs counter to finding meaning and joy in existence. Determined to stop this rebellion, The Pilot sends Akae (Eloise Smyth), a "Guardian-In-Training," but as she infiltrates the rebellion and stops Logos from going any further, she begins to ask the same questions about the meaning of life. Now, this rebellion must find a way to reach the world with its message of purpose through mortality.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the topics discussed in I Am Mortal. What is the movie saying about life, death, and existence? What are your thoughts on these topics?
One aspect of this futuristic society is that people take medication called "Maintenance" that keeps them at peace with the world and with themselves. When the main characters go off their "maintenance," they feel more "alive" and clear-headed. What comment does this seem to be making about today's society, mental health, and pharmaceuticals? What are your thoughts on this?
Most of the main characters seem to represent not so much an individual but a particular world outlook or philosophy. What viewpoints do Logos, The Pilot, Helios, and the others represent?
- On DVD or streaming: March 1, 2022
- Cast: Abraham Lewis, Eloise Smyth, Sean Gunn
- Director: Tony Aloupis
- Studio: RLJE Entertainment
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Kitschy sci-fi classic has some sexual content.
The Hunger Games
Intense adaptation is violent, thought-provoking for teens.
A dark, philosophical sci-fi drama for older teens.
For kids who love science fiction
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