A Heart’s Desire
I’m Your Man
(Ich bin dein Mensch)
Stars: Dan Stevens, Maren Eggert, Sandra Huller, Hans Low, Wolfgang Hubsch, Annika Meier, Jurgen Tarrach and Henriette Richter-Rohl
Director: Maria Schrader
Scriptwriters: Maria Schrader and Jan Schomburg
Composer: Tobias Wagner
Cinematography: Benedict Nevenfels
Letterbox Productions/Majestic Filmvertein
Running Length: 105 Minutes
German language with subtitles
It takes about 10 minutes to get into this science fiction film of a robot man and a human woman. After that, the audience can see the beginning of the story which involves the premise: can a human love a robot - or – can a robot love a human? Scriptwriters Maria Schrader (“Unorthodox”) and Jan Schomburg (“Divine”) have a theme that is similar to episodes from early television science fiction series.. Here, Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”) plays Tom, the robot, while Alma (Maren Eggert from “Giraffe”) is the human. This is part of a scientific experiment, about to become a commercial product, to develop a compatible partner for lonely people. So, sports, gaming, travel aren’t sufficient for a lonely person, there must be someone who TOTALLY understands that person and caters to their needs.. Humans can’t do this---totally---and, perhaps, robots can.
The film begins with Alma entering a room that is a nightclub. Tom comes to ask her to dance and has all the right conversation, moves, and so on…until he breaks down. Then, we see that this is a set-up to see if Tom is compatible to Alma. The software is faulty, though, and Tom goes back to be adjusted. This starts to intrigue Alma, who agrees to continue the experiment, which is to last three weeks. The purpose being having a commercial product available for lonely people. From here on, we see just how lonely Alma is and just how sensitive Tom can be. Humor is involved, for he can be blunt and surprising to people who don’t grasp he is a robot, rather someone just out-of-place at the time. He can answer a math question in one second, re-arranges Alma’s furniture for efficiency and has coffee just the way she likes it, ready every morning. Life on all levels, whether mechanic or flesh and blood, never runs smoothly, and when the scene becomes intensely romantic-- what to do? Alma has second thoughts. Is this life mentally healthy for people? Shouldn’t she be in the “real” world instead of in the company of metal? Being catered to is quite nice, and enticing. The experiment will be ending soon.
Dan Stevens steals his scenes as the thin Tom, who looks like a wisp and can’t help but give answers whether wanted or not. You believe he is a robot and not human, and Stevens does this very well. On the other hand, Maren Eggert, rarely changes expression and goes from hesitancy to talkative to hesitancy and doesn’t find the essence of the character, Alma. This is bothering and you want to say, ‘hurry up” every once in a while. The script does discuss why Alma agreed to this experiment about ¾ of the way through, and then there is a serious tone. One wishes it would have come sooner. What does aid in the film, is the music by Tobias Wagner, who has the right blend for each scene.
All in all, the two main characters play off each other well in certain segments and in others, hesitantly. The idea of a robot for companionship is not a new one, but here, explored for commercial and, possibly lifetime, companionship. A good question for over coffee at the local coffee shop. What would be your opinion? Loneliness can be a one-way street.
Copyright 2021 Marie Asner