#TIFF21: “I’M YOUR MAN” REVIEW
Review by David Baldwin
Alma (Maren Eggert) is a scientist longing for a relationship yet is too busy with cuneiform studies to form a bond with anyone new. With funding for a huge project hanging in the balance, Alma signs up for a three-week trial with Tom (Dan Stevens), a Humanoid Cyborg designed and determined to make her happy.
I have been unable to shake I’M YOUR MAN days after watching it. It creeps up on you almost immediately and stays with you long after its haunting finale. Co-Writer/Director Maria Schrader subverts any expectations you might have with this high concept romantic Science-Fiction Dramedy, all while delivering an emotionally stirring message about what it means to be human and what it means to be in love. That may sound like a few too many ideas to balance, yet Schrader’s guiding hand makes it look easy. While it could have used some tightening up editing wise, the world building here is subtle and remarkable, depicting a future that seems attainable. The Script is witty and sweet, and the CGI is minimal and used sparingly. Even the deeper, darker moments of this tale have a lovely charm to them.
All of this would mean nothing without the Cast however, who are game for everything Schrader throws at them. Sandra Hüller (who you will recognize from the Oscar-nominated Toni Erdmann) has a delightful bit part as a Scientist/Therapist keeping track of Tom’s progress in the field, while Hans Löw turns in memorable work as Alma’s ex Julian. They are barely noticeable whenever Eggert and Stevens are together though – their simmering chemistry is the beating heart of I’M YOUR MAN, with the sparks flying immediately and never letting up. Eggert spends much of the Movie skeptical and narrow-minded, completely unconvinced of Tom’s act and trying her very best to stay straight laced. She does a great job of it, and is so very funny and natural in the role. Stevens is even better, delivering his most incredible and accomplished work to date. His robotic movements are precise, and his fluent German dialogue is crisp and flawless (cannot do much about hiding that debonair English accent though). He is having a blast here, reworking and reimagining the archetype he has gotten so good at embodying. Together or apart, Eggert and Stevens create one of the best on-screen couples of the year and one of the most welcome surprises of the festival. Keep this one on your radar.
I’M YOUR MAN screens at TIFF ’21:
Mon, Sep 13 Scotiabank Theatre 7:30 PM
Tue, Sep 14 digital TIFF Bell Lightbox 5:00 PM
Tue, Sep 14 RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place 9:00 PM
Sat, Sep 18 digital TIFF Bell Lightbox 3:00 PM