REVIEW: ‘I’m Your Man’ Is a Charming and Thoughtful Sci-FI Romance

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I'm Your Man - But Why Tho

Tom (Dan Stevens) seems to be the perfect man for Alma (Maren Eggert). He has piercing blue eyes, has good taste in wine, knows poetry, is a great rumba dancer, and can immediately give you the answer to mathematical equations such as 3,587 times 982, divided by 731. Wait, what? In Germany’s 2022 Oscar entry I’m Your Man, director, and co-writer Maria Schrader uses a sci-fi concept, about a robot (Tom) designed specifically to make a woman (Alma) happy, to explore heavy philosophical questions of love and happiness using a light touch.

As part of a three-week study, Alma has to take Tom to her house and give feedback on her experience with him (or it?). However, she’s a researcher only taking this peculiar assignment to get fundings for a project. She isn’t interested in meeting the man of her dreams or getting all her needs fulfilled, so she can’t look past the machine, no matter how hard Tom tries. This creates a fascinating, and often amusing, relationship.

Alma isn’t impressed with Tom’s traditional chivalrous acts—from opening doors to leaving a path of rose petals all the way to the bathtub—so Tom tries to learn from his missed courtship attempts. He carefully studies Alma’s reactions, body language, and facial expressions to adjust his approach. For instance, one morning, he rearranges Alma’s apartment but just a look at her face is enough for him to immediately return it to its original messy state, and never try it again. The excellent performances are crucial to give deeper meaning to every interaction. 

Dan Stevens (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga) is wonderful as a heartthrob robot. His speaking cadence and little movements, such as blinking or a simple nod, are on-point. Despite his whole unnatural demeanor, his relaxed stance is warming and the delivery of his lines has a great impact on Alma, whether that’s good or bad, that depends on the situation. 

For her work in I’m Your Man, Maren Eggert won the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance, and it’s easy to see why. Despite all the barriers around her character, Eggert makes sure to flawlessly communicate her emotions through her body mobility, thus creating a powerful contrast with Stevens’ stiff demeanor. She runs, cries, slouches, quickly loses her temper, shows frustration with a simple glance. And as the story moves forward, she starts to reveal her vulnerabilities. It’s a layered performance that works smoothly with the work of Stevens. They complement each other to fulfill Schrader’s vision.

Tom starts to charm Alma by offering things that she didn’t know she wanted. As Alma keeps resisting, we slowly learn about her past and the reasons behind her frustrations. Throughout all of this, the tone gets a bit messy and the film loses force whenever Tom and Alma are not together on the screen. A sequence involving Alma’s father ends up being unnecessary, for example.

There are many points in which I’m Your Man could’ve become a cheesy rom-com or even explored the dangerous ramifications of Artificial Intelligence. However, Schrader smartly moves away from cliches and preconceived ideas to delve deeper into the philosophical aspects of the story such as our relationship with solitude, the understanding around the little acts that make us truly human, and the importance of detaching ourselves from the artificiality of virtual connections.

Anchored by two great performances by Eggert and Stevens, I’m Your Man is a thoughtful, astute, and welcoming film that centers around humanity, our codependency with technology, and the relationship between love and solitude. 

I’m Your Man is now playing in select theatres across the United States and will be available on VOD on October 12. You can visit the official site of Bleecker Street to get more information on showing and VOD availability.

I’m Your Man
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Anchored by two great performances by Eggert and Stevens, I’m Your Man is a thoughtful, astute, and welcoming film that centers around humanity, our codependency with technology, and the relationship between love and solitude.