M3GAN Movie Review and Movie Summary (2023)

But Gemma is not the motherly type. She’s too busy with work to spend much time with Cady. And even though she works for a toy company, she keeps her toys—sorry, collectibles– in their boxes and on a shelf in her living room. But these two are now the only family the other has. So they will have to learn to live together, at least well enough to satisfy a court-ordered psychiatrist who is skeptical of Gemma’s parenting skills.

Enter the M3gan, which seems like the perfect solution to Gemma’s problem. An experimental prototype with a “Short circuitstyle ability to remember infinite amounts of information, M3gan can act as a teacher and babysitter, reminding Cady to use a coaster and wash her hands after using the bathroom. She is what every child needs and every parent secretly wants: a 24/7 companion that frees parents to give their own lives while their children are preoccupied with their dolls. She wants to make Gemma’s boss very, very rich – so rich, he rushes M3gan through beta testing with Cady as their only subject. It can’t go horribly wrong in any unforeseen way, right?

With quick direction from “Housebound“Helmets Gerard Johnstone, “M3gan” does a good job of holistically incorporating its themes without being too heavy-handed. Of course, it’s technically “about” grief and what happens when the creation surpasses its creator. But more than that, it’s “about” pithy one-liners and black comedy and the disturbing sight of something that looks like a human but doesn’t move or sound like one. The plot has a few weak points and dangling threads, and the PG-13 rating ensures that the violence is muted before it can reach its full gory potential. (A promising sequence of puppet-based mayhem late in the film is abruptly cut short, suggesting MPAA-mandated cuts.) But the tongue-in-cheek tone is so consistent that “M3gan” is a hoot nonetheless.

Johnstone reaps seemingly endless rewards from the uncanny valley aspect of M3gan’s character. He instructs the tiny stuntwomen who play her to move in strange, jerky movements that at various times recall everything from “Robocop” scanning the faces of criminals to Samara crawling out of the TV in “The ring” to voguers high on their oabulousness. (He also uses what I can only describe as a “skinned Furby” aesthetic at critical points throughout the film.) Combined with the doll’s sassy comebacks and dowdy sartorial sense, the effect is genuine camp—something that are difficult to pull off in our irony-saturated age.

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