I’M YOUR MAN (2021)
Starring Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meier, Falilou Seck, Jürgen Tarrach, Henriette Richter-Röhl, Monika Oschek, Inga Busch, Karolin Oesterling, Marlene-Sophie Haagen and Gabriel Muñoz Muñoz .
Screenplay by Jan Schomburg and Maria Schrader.
Directed by Maria Schrader.
Distributed by Bleecker Street. 105 minutes. Rated R.
First off, I’ve got to say – who knew that Dan Stevens was fluent in German? The popular and respected British actor – best known for Downton Abbey, The Guest, Beauty and the Beast and Legion – performs his entire role in this charming romantic comedy in German and sounds completely comfortable acting in a different language than he normally uses on film.
That is just one expectation that is turned on its head by this smart and topical sci-fi tinged rom com, which is sweet and charming, but also asks some rather pointed philosophical questions of the audience.
Specifically, Stevens’ character of Tom is early on outed as a robot who was built and programmed to be the perfect match for a career-obsessed symbology professor in the near future named Alma (Maren Eggert), who has been chosen to be part of a beta test for the new androids, which their makers feel will revolutionize love in the world.
Being a smart, cynical, and rather grounded woman, Alma is rather standoffish with her new companion – after all, he is a machine. How could she fall for a robot?
A human becoming romantically involved with an artificial being – it’s an idea which has been touched on in film before, with things like Her, Lars and the Real Girl and most specifically Making Mr. Right, a long-forgotten 1980s curio which is closest, story-wise, to this film.
I’m Your Man is as good as – if not better than – any of these films, although it slightly loses its way towards the end.
And most of the high quality is due to Stevens’ terrific performance. Beyond the obvious accomplishment – noted above – of taking a role that was not in his native tongue, this is simply a layered and nuanced performance which really stands out. Playing a robot could be cause for exaggeration, one-dimensionality and jerkiness, but you can really buy Stevens as a cyborg, and also as one that can pass himself off as a man. Through subtle gestures you can really see that he is processing new information and working to become the perfect mate.
Eggert is also quite fine as Alma, a hardened woman going through a rough patch in life who is very resistant to this new technology, however she finds herself coming to care for this strange new intruder into her world.
I’m Your Man works both as a romantic comedy and also as a deeper look at the impersonality of modern life and the rising reliance on technology over humanity. It’s smart and funny and passionate and a little bit sad.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 24, 2021.