“The iMom” is a satirical horror/sci-fi short by writer/director Ariel Martin. It opens with an infomercial advertising the benefits of a a digital mother surrogate (including actual footage of one of the increasingly realistic androids being developed in laboratories) before shifting to an overtaxed mother trying to connect with her children.
The scenes are punctuated with montages of catastrophic news and the iMom infomercial. It’s an effective device to establish the dystopian consequences of a totally disaffected society.
The older son does not like or trust his new iMom. He hates her cooking. He doesn’t trust her because she cannot think or do anything without programming. The iMom tries to connect with the boy as a real mother in a genuine, caring fashion, but he deflects all attempts at a true bond by reminding the iMom of her own inability to make a lasting connection.
Any new technology is going to need constant updates. Just look at your phone. How often do your apps and operating system need to upgrade? Now imagine how much more upkeep and fine tuning is going to be essential for a realistic human android programmed to do all the work of a stay at home mother?
Martin has a sharp eye for satire. The visuals in the short, especially when the weather starts to turn at night, are beautiful. The big twist in the story is not as fulfilling, but the journey to that point is quite fulfilling. The plot is not as important as the theme and that comes through loud and clear.
“The iMom” can be watched online at Ariel Martin’s Vimeo account.