[Critique ciné] “Ich bin dein Mensch”, a love story and “as, Siri”

I am your man, a film by Maria Schrader (comedy, science fiction). With Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller… (1h48).

In front of the camera, he attracts Margarethe Von Trotta and Agnieszka Holland or the excellent spy series. Germany 83, with strong and often serious roles. After a turn on the Netflix box, where he directed the episodes of the series Not ordinaryjointly praised by critics and the public, Maria Schrader exploded with her third feature film, I am your manwhich reverses the usual areas of romantic comedy.

Genre enthusiasts can be reassured: there is love, misunderstanding and humor here. But with parsimony and with an emotion – which, you know, quickly becomes sentimentality in such a context – that is lost in favor of philosophical questions. The flaw in the film’s “love interest”: a robot.

Tom (Dan Stevens), that’s his first name, is designed like everyone else he’s different with a mission to make happy the person assigned to him. Tom is programmed by the company that makes him the perfect girlfriend of Alma (Maren Eggert), an archaeologist.

The duo of actors, the major asset of the film

For the unmarried quadra, it all has its pitfalls: funding her research work depends on her participation in a three-week trial to live with android. And even more so if you want to… But the researcher, who sees more of himself as a product tester, is less receptive to amorous robot parades.

So, yes, the story feels warm: the romantic comedy looks like a thousand other films of the same variety and science fiction that are already well exploring the relationship – sentimental and domestic – between humans and androids in Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014) and the Swedish series Real Man (2012-2014). But not everything has to be thrown away.

To be honest, the stakes can be decided in advance and the visual language can be closer to television than cinema, but you never get bored. The photo, clean and orderly, translates to a truly shaped world in which a person transforms composed of couples who separate as they do and vice versa. If Maria Schrader puts her film into the near future, it’s impossible to look at it that way.

The duo of actors is obviously the major asset of the film. Impeccable body, blue eyes and able to speak perfect German, Briton Dan Stevens gives an excellent performance even if his game requires the least. As for Maren Eggert, her very presence covers her character with an idlas veil of mystery, which she tears apart without warning, at the bend of a scene where her anger explodes.

The loneliness and insecurity of the feelings in question

With their delayed alchemy, we prefer the “hurt” episode in the first half of the film, where Tom has to refine his algorithm and see all the traits of the perfect cheater go down the water – he’s master in dance and romantic phrases -nerdy, and seeks to attract a combo bath -champagne -rose petals -, in front of an ultracynical Alma who is only interested in him for his computer skills. His first questions for him were complex calculations and a very important question: “What is the meaning of life?”.

“Make this world a better place,” Tom tit replied for tat. An answer spoken aloud, hiding much more that needs to be read between the lines of the script. This is the true intention of Maria Schrader and her co-screenwriter Jan Schomburg: to question loneliness, the escape of romantic relationships (Alma’s ex-husband is one of the main characters in the plot) and the meaning of the feelings of the Tinder days.

Concerns that could not be more recent, used in the film today to see the future of the romantic relationship. What makes it bitter is that we have already asked ourselves these questions even before entering the story and that the film cannot provide a satisfactory answer. For that, you need the machines.

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