If the men of Stepford can have their perfect Stepford Wives and K can have his holographic girlfriend Joi in Blade Runner 2040, why shouldn’t someone have a custom-made robotic boyfriend that looks like Dan Stevens? That question requires a nuanced answer that is wrapped up in ethics, morality, and heavy philosophical consideration.
I’m Your Man Questions the Idealism of a Robotic Romance
German filmmaker Maria Schrader unwraps this moral dilemma by positioning the film’s protagonist as a very literal, reason-based academic who is invited to test out a new program that would create the perfect robot boyfriend designed to meet her every need both physically and mentally. Despite her reservations, Alma (Maren Eggert) goes through with the assignment and brings Tom (Dan Stevens) home for a 3-week trial with a very rigid set of rules. She doesn’t really want him to speak to her, she doesn’t want to engage romantically with him, and he is to “sleep” in a converted closet.
Perhaps I am unaware of what passes for rom-com in Germany, but I’m Your Man is an incredibly bittersweet film that made me tear up more than it made me laugh. In fact, I didn’t even chuckle once while watching it. The film is surprisingly cerebral and brutally honest in its humanity.
As one can expect from a film with this plot, Alma does originally come around to the idea of Tom, but in doing so she realizes the dangers of having someone who can perfectly suit a person’s needs. Tom fulfills all of the needs of a career-driven woman who doesn’t have time for the frill and irrationality of love. It also forces her to recognize how she has been going through life on auto-pilot, positing her as the more robotic of the pair.
While I’m Your Man is no episode of Black Mirror, it does force its audience to consider a future where all of your romantic needs could be met with the aid of an algorithm and a pretty face. Schrader does remarkably well at indulging in the appeal of having a robotic boyfriend, while also reminding the audience that all that glitters isn’t gold. I appreciated the risks that I’m Your Man took and that it didn’t follow the predictable pattern of other films with comparable plots.
Needless to say, if I had a robot programmed to look like Dan Stevens, I would ensure that it got programmed to growl just like he did in Beauty & the Beast.
I'm Your Man is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on September 17, 2021.
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