Cuneiform expert Alma works at Berlin’s prestigious Pergamon Museum, but like most academics she needs that last bit of funding. The fastest way to secure this is participation in an experiment with a robotic humanoid companion named Tom, to test if his artificial intelligence will morph into her ideal life partner. Tom is uncannily cheerful on the car ride from the factory, saying that soon every small remark, joke, and compliment of his will be “a bullseye” for Alma. He has even adapted her preferred “English” foreign accent!

Despite the unbelievability of Tom’s wired head remaining attached after he reorganises Alma’s entire house and research notes, I’m Your Man (Ich bin dein Mensch) proves an all-too-human look at desire, longing, connection, and the inherent satisfaction in completion’s impossibility. While the first two acts of the film revel in humorous misunderstandings as Tom learns to be human, the third act’s intense focus on his flesh-and-blood character’s self-discoveries elevates the film from the silly to the sublime. Perhaps fulfilment and happiness are journeys – and the robots we meet along the way questions rather than answers.

With the help of Schomburg and Schrader’s well-balanced script, Maren Eggert does not play Alma’s whole hand up front, letting the audience into her personal and professional struggles naturally. This builds the foundation for genuine surprise and poignancy as the experiment progresses differently than she expects. Dan Stevens puts his naturally intense gaze and studied mannerisms to good use, underpinning both with a pre-programmed self-awareness.

“They make us happy. And what could be wrong with being happy?” Alma poses in her notes at the end. I’m Your Man operates on a similar principle, celebrating human connections even if the humanity of one party is questionable. In a time of worldwide loneliness, it is a joyous, soothing journey.

RATING: 4/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meier, Falilou Seck, Jürgen Tarrach, Henriette Richter-Röhl, Monika Oschek

DIRECTOR: Maria Schrader

WRITERS: Jan Schomburg, Maria Schrader, Emma Braslavsky (short story)

SYNOPSIS: An ancient languages scholar takes on a robotic companion to test if robots can ever fill the need for human connection.

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