I’M YOUR MAN (#TIFF21)
Delicately acted with confidence and poise, I’m Your Man is an intimately charming story that takes a sci-fi story about a robot and grounds it firmly in humanity.
Alma (Maren Eggert) is a researcher who agrees to living with Tom, a robot (Dan Stevens) designed to be a life partner for her, for a few weeks to report back on ethical considerations in exchange for necessary funding for her studies. I’m Your Man is a film with unexpected depth, exploring the human condition, love, and what makes us human. Eggert is a strong lead who impressively delivers an incrementally increasing emotional performance, taking Alma from a closed and tortured individual to one who sees her notions of life and love challenged and expanded. Stevens’ turn as a humanoid robot provides moments of levity, but most surprising is the way in which writer/director Maria Schrader uses him as a vehicle for thought-provoking introspection. By doing so, the story blossoms into so much more than your standard romantic comedy.
There are moments throughout I’m Your Man that progress slower than others, often ruminating in some of the aforementioned explorations of embedded themes for a bit too long. Still, this is a film that knows what it wants to do using its two leads and successfully does so in stirring fashion. I’m Your Man has a vintage feel, as well, perhaps due to the cinematography but also in the simplicity of the love story at its center. How ironic that a film about artificial intelligence is one of the most genuine from the festival.