Manufactured Desire

I’m Your Man

Director: Maria Schrader

Cast: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Huller, Hans Low, Jurgen Tarrach

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Running Time: 1 hour and 48 minutes

Language: German with English Subtitles

This film is being screened as part of the European Film Festival from 13th to the 23rd October 2022.

German actress Maren Eggert won Best Leading Performance at the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival for her central role as Alma an anthropologist who indulges in a scientific experiment of taking on a humanoid or robotic man as her partner in director Maria Schrader’s fascinating comedy drama I’m Your Man starring the delectable British actor Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Blithe Spirit, The Man who invented Christmas) as the gorgeous looking rather robotic Tom, complete with startling blue eyes and a good physique.

In a rather strange opening sequence in which Alma is first introduced to Tom at a bizarre social event complete with jazzy music, martini’s, holograms and humanoids, she is not completely taken with the idea of spending time with a robot who is not essentially a pulsating, lustful man, complete with conflicting emotions like aggression, compassion and righteousness.

Director Maria Shrader’s fascinating narrative about the complex relationships between humans and artificial intelligence is intelligently explored in I’m Your Man as Alma eventually agrees to take the beautiful Tom home with her but she has limits about her companionship with this humanoid, not allowing him to share a bed and limiting his capacity for neatness, an algorithm in which he is programmed to provide happiness for the associated human.

When a long awaited Anthropological research paper about love and metaphors in ancient civilizations surrounding Persia is debunked by another author, Alma’s career stumbles and she decides to take Tom out of the city to meet her demented father and sister in the country. There is a stunning scene whereby Tom is wondering around the deer in the park, who are oblivious to any threat as he has no human odour as he is a robot.

On the sexual front, things are far more complex, as Alma discovers that while Tom is programmed to stimulate her, he cannot actually impregnate her. Alma’s initial revulsion to Tom is overcome when loneliness is replaced with curiosity and she does share a bed with Tom. Dan Stevens’s performance as the expressionless Tom is brilliant, creepy and pitch perfect, like the cipher of a man without any of the complexity or emotional nuance.

While Alma decides from an anthropological point of view that it is extremely unwise for humans to become attached to robotic companions, she herself falls into the same trap when she travels to Denmark to reignite a forgotten childhood memory. Director Maria Shrader’s I’m Your Man is a thought-provoking tale about companionship, love and the ethical complications of humans attaching themselves to artificial intelligence.

I’m Your Man gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is held together by two brilliant performances from Maren Eggert and Dan Stevens. Recommended viewing.  

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