Movie review: I am your man
germany I am your man is the mashup we never knew we needed: the sci-fi romantic comedy. He manages to be smart, witty, and, yes, even romantic, all while exploring a love affair between a stuck archaeologist and a handsome robot. Along the way, the archaeologist begins to question his own feelings about romance and love – and we in the audience do the same.
Alma (Maren Eggert) thinks she’s done with love. She’s just gotten out of a bad breakup and, to make matters worse, her ex has a serious new girlfriend. She’s going to bury herself in her studies of cuneiform metaphors and not bother with all of these embarrassing emotional things. But then her boss gives her an opportunity that she cannot refuse: he will provide her with additional money for her research if she agrees to participate in an experiment: for three weeks she will live with a robot, designed for be her. perfect match. At the end of the three weeks, she will report not only on the robot’s effectiveness, but also on the ethical ramifications of allowing these robots to live among us, perhaps even to marry.
Not only is she skeptical, she is bordering on mortified. Especially when she meets the robot, Tom (Dan Stevens), and he’s incredibly handsome, slim and blue-eyed and dapper, built to his exact specifications.
“Your eyes are like two mountains I could sink into,” he told her, making her roll his eyes.
But here’s the catch: these humanoid robots are adaptive. As their whole mission is to please their partner, they learn as they go. Tom quickly learns that Alma doesn’t like mushy feelings or even things like bubble baths studded with rose petals.
“93% of women dream of it,” said Tom, puzzled at first.
“Guess what percentage I’m in? She retorts.
Soon Tom understands. Less displays of affection, more interest in Alma’s work. We talk less about romance and more discussions about philosophy.
And Alma – and we – are starting to crack.
The truth is, I was as supportive of Tom and Alma as I ever was for any couple in a traditional romantic comedy.
Yes, sure, it helps that Tom is played by Stevens, but then again, no one is going to be ordering a schlubby robot (or heck, maybe they are… it takes all kinds of them). Tom may not be human, but he wants something – one thing, in fact – to be loved by Alma. This is the key to its appeal (fiction writing 101, make your protagonist want).
But, of course, Tom isn’t human and, as Alma mumbles bitterly at one point, when she talks to him, she’s actually alone, talking to herself.
Both performances are excellent here, Stevens making Tom extremely attractive without ever appearing too much Human. And Eggert is convincingly closed and pungent, until she reluctantly succumbs to Tom’s charms.
Director Maria Schrader really does a trick here by creating a film that looks like a confection, but actually grapples with some serious themes. Unlike Spike Jonze Her, which explored man’s growing dependence on technology, I am your man is more an exploration of the nature of happiness and desire and the meaning of love. Is Happiness More Important Than Human Connection? Or can true happiness only be achieved through human bond?
Pretty heavy stuff for a romantic comedy.
I am your man opens Friday October 1st at the Charles Theater.