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Now on Hulu, I am your man stars Downton abbey Slab o ‘beauty Dan Stevens as an experimental android suitor for Maren Eggert’s lone anthropologist because what other type of character could struggle with so much play with big ideas about what it means to be human? Director Maria Schrader’s film – presented as a potential German Oscar nominee for Best International Feature Film – promises a subtle blend of sci-fi and romantic comedy, which is promising in concept, but what about it in execution? Let’s find out.

The essential: Alma (Maren Eggert) has a date with a robot that looks exactly like a very handsome human man. She roasts him: Do you believe in God? What is your favorite poetry? Do this math problem. “What’s the saddest thing you can think of? ” she asks. “Die alone,” he replies. Then Tom (Stevens) does a hell of a rumba with her before shorting in the middle of a sentence, prompting the managers to shoot him like a busted Showbiz Pizza automaton. Tom is a tailor-made dream robot for Alma – reluctantly, I should add. She is one of a handful of test subjects for The Romantic Partner 2000, spoke in the project in return for additional support for her own underfunded college program. She’s a researcher who spends months and months poring over old tablets, trying to squeeze metaphor and poetry out of hieroglyphics, which is just NOT as sexy as Dan Stevens in just boxers in black. silk and a dressing gown, raising a sultry eyebrow as he prepares a smorgasbord breakfast, just as his Alma-specific algorithm tells him to do.

This is not quite the remedy for Alma’s mildly mocking celibacy. Her ex, Julian (Hans Low), is a co-worker, so she sees him all the time and always has a piece of her art hanging above her dining room table. Her father is falling into dementia. Tom comes home with her and she treats him like a household appliance, tucking him away in the cluttered guest room next to the vacuum cleaner. He tidies up his messy apartment and Dewey decimalizes all of his books, but she firmly demands that he put the place back to its disheveled state. Is he upset by such rejection? He sure seems to be the sensitive type, of course, but one wonders how emotionally evolved he can be when he literally doesn’t know enough to get out of the rain. You also wonder if it’s anatomically correct and functional, because you’re only human when you want to know exactly how ‘human’ a precisely designed human robot can be, right?

At least it’s an AI learning, “Soon I’ll say and do things you love with a much higher success rate.” Soon every hit will be a target, ”he said, clearly not understanding the concept of double meaning. Alma refuses to warm up with Tom, although her response to life’s inevitable ups and downs and slippages takes them on a lovely walk through a forest where her likeness begins to truly shine until she dozes off. in a meadow and wakes up to find him standing among a herd of deer who are not afraid of him because he does not smell of humans. It’s always something, isn’t it? Either way, Tom is evolving and Alma is sweetening all we can do is STAND BY FOR PROFUNDITY.

Spread it or skip it?
Photo: Everett Collection

What movies will this remind you of? : Her remains the standard bearer of movies falling in love with learning AI, especially soulful movies with clever bits of comedy like I am your man. It could be a decent antidote to an emo-sci-fi disappointment like Swan Song. We can also imagine Tom standing next to Haley Joel Osment in AI: Artificial Intelligence, stuck in one place for millennia.

Performances to watch: Stevens is great as a potential boyfriend who might deserve the benefit of the doubt. And Eggert responds to him with a full and nuanced characterization of an intelligent, skeptical and complicated woman.

Memorable dialogue: Alma becomes cynical about love and its multitude of scientific processes: “Endorphins, high levels of serotonin, release of dopamine… yep.

Gender and skin: Brief female topless in a tender and romantic sex scene.

Our opinion : I am your man elicits thoughts and feelings about how we are all “wired”, in the sense that Tom the robot is “wired” and nature has “wired” us to be “human”. What does “artificial” mean anyway, or for that matter “human”? So many questions. So many quotes. So many somewhat heavy tricks about anthropologists looking back in time for signs of emotional evolution and looking to the future for the same – such a trick to be exact, which is about 0.47 too many, because that vanity works mostly in a pleasant, thoughtful, slightly light-hearted manner, without the weight of big-brained sci-fi or the grand silliness of mainstream romantic comedies.

So the film cautiously walks the line between genres, striking a unique tone, even when it’s a bit dramatically muffled. The performances are pleasant, ruminating, a little surprising; Eggert isn’t afraid of being thorny, and Stevens isn’t afraid of being stupid, complicating any stereotypes other actors and directors might indulge in. And Schrader skillfully guides the story to a thoughtful and poetic conclusion. Not all contemplators of big AI questions need to be mind-boggling. Nice film, and I say it in all sincerity.

Our call: Stream it. I am your man is better than the premise suggests.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn more about his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.

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