I’m Your Man review: Dan Stevens stars in ‘charming’ robo-romance

Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens stars in ‘charming’ robo-romance I’m Your Man (Image: Christine Fenzl)

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Can you really find a genuine love story with a machine?

Working at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, passionate scientist Alma (Maren Eggert) conducts academic research into ancient languages but decides to take part in a unique experiment to obtain funding for her project.

For three weeks, Alma agrees to live with a dashing artificially intelligent android named Tom (Dan Stevens), who has been crafted to be her ideal partner.

As Alma grapples with the moral and practical dilemmas of getting to know her new houseguest, she comes to question what she wants from love and asks what a true romance really consists of.

Based on a story by Emma Braslavsky, actor-director Maria Schrader returns to Berlin International Film Festival with this charming, thoughtful, but amusing romantic story that truly makes the most of its ethical quandaries and well-observed performances.

Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert star in robo-romance I'm Your Man
(Image: Christine Fenzl)

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Eggert makes an authentic and driven career woman who is bruised by love and is now closing herself off to the possibilities before her, delivering an increasingly tumultuous emotional journey for her Alma.

However, the real highlight of the film has to be Stevens himself as the android Tom, offering a subtly sensitive, stilted, yet mannered figure that is believably inhuman yet totally personable.

Echoes of Michael Fassbender’s friendlier moments as androids David and Walter in the Alien prequels and Jude Law’s turn in A.I. Artificial Intelligence are present in Stevens’ work, while his crispy English accent is naturally written into the German-language script with a simple flourish of Alma liking her men “slightly foreign”.

Dan Stevens plays the polite android Tom
(Image: Christine Fenzl)

Android Tom is delivered to Alma by an employee, played by Sandra Huller
(Image: Christine Fenzl)

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The two leads share an odd chemistry together, which is not exactly brimming with sexuality but instead a sincere sweetness that manages not to fall into schmaltz, despite some of the more obviously sentimental moments – particularly as Tom meets Alma’s ailing father.

Toni Erdmann star Sandra Hüller also delivers a memorable supporting turn as an employee of the company that created Tom, offering a wonderful complimentary performance to Stevens’ own work.

Despite its speculative fiction genre elements, Schrader avoids leaning too heavily into science-fiction, beyond early scenes featuring Tom ‘glitching’ and some hologram special effects, this is purely grounded in the uneasy courtship between Alma and Tom.

Maren Eggert's Alma must ask herself if she is ready for love – with a robot
(Image: Christine Fenzl)

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Asking some big questions on human nature, reciprocity of romantic feeling, personal happiness, and the quandaries of inter-species love between humans and robots, I’m Your Man takes a lot on and doesn't fully explore a few of the elements it taps into.

Yet ultimately, director Maria Schrader has helmed a charming romantic comedy that offers a satisfying but thoughtful examination of modern algorithm-driven love.

Verdict

I'm Your Man is a charming robo-romance that boasts a memorable turn from Dan Stevens as a dashing but appropriately awkward android named Tom.

I'm Your Man premiered at Berlin International Film Festival 2021 but does not currently have a UK release date.

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