I'm Your Man (4 stars)

I'm Your Man

Britain's Dan Stevens shines in a sweet German sci-fi dramedy about a woman falling for a robot

Those who have closely followed the career of actor Dan Stevens since he exited Downton Abbey will be pleased to discover he's at it again. And by 'at it', we mean indulging in obscene amounts of cinematic fun as he leaves the stuffiness of the aforementioned series far behind him. Following The Guest, Legion, Blithe Spirit and his scene-stealingly silly turn in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga, here he is popping up in a German dramedy as a sex robot. But of course.

Maren Eggert plays anthropology academic Alma, who has spent three years painstakingly interpreting Sumerian cuneiform looking for evidence of poetry and who, save her relationship with her frail and bad-tempered elderly father (Wolfgang Hübsch), doesn't have a lot going on outside of her research. However, her lack of personal life makes her an ideal fit for an unusual study: Alma has been persuaded by her dean to be one of the experts trialling a humanoid relationship robot, with a view to offering essential feedback before it hits the market.

As explained by Sandra Hüller's company stooge, the robot in question has been programmed to simulate Alma's dream man and she's encouraged to open herself up to what this experience might provide. And so, Tom (Stevens) moves into our protagonist's apartment for a period of three weeks and this courteous, knowledgeable and seductive character is everything he's been sold as. But Alma's guard is up, she's been burned before romantically and she finds Tom infuriatingly perfect, using his apparent lack of humanity against him.

Directed by Maria Schrader and written by Schrader and Jan Schomburg (based on Emma Braslavsky's short story), what unfolds is a touching tale about how hard it is to let people in. Such sincerity fuses skilfully with the fish out of water comedy, as this odd couple try to rub along in a small apartment in a situation fraught with weirdness, tension and myriad misunderstandings.

The fact that Alma is testing Tom, with her thoughts helping determine the future rights and freedoms of robots, allows the story to rigorously explore the potential and limitations of artificial intelligence; we see her struggling to get her head around her burgeoning affection for this oddly endearing individual, and hear her ultimate judgements. I'm Your Man takes a thoughtful, charming and amusingly left-field look at love, with affecting work from Eggert and a glassy-eyed, almost wryly smiling Stevens absolutely spot on, and once again having the time of his life.

Available to watch in selected cinemas and via Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 13 August.

I'M YOUR MAN | Official UK Trailer [HD] - In Cinemas 13 August

I'm Your Man

  • 4 stars
  • 2021
  • Germany
  • 1h 45min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Maria Schrader
  • Written by: Jan Schomburg, Maria Schrader
  • Cast: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meier, Falilou Seck, Jürgen Tarrach, Henriette Richter-Röhl, Monika Oschek
  • UK release: 13 August 2021

As an experiment a scientist agrees to live with an android programmed to make her happy.