Alma (Maren Eggert) is a lonely forty-five-year-old woman who some time ago experienced a painful separation from her husband Julian (Hans Löw). She is engaged in science: she leads a group of researchers of Sumerian cuneiform in the Pergamon Museum. The fact that Alma is a scientist and yet lonely makes her an excellent candidate for a very unusual experiment: she must spend three weeks in the company of an android robot created especially for her and write a report about it. Alma is persuaded to take part in the experiment by her boss, who in return promises additional funding for her research team.
The group lacks funding, so Alma agrees to participate, and she is introduced to the android Tom (Dan Stevens), who settles in her apartment. At first, Tom terribly annoys Alma by using various romantic clichés that have stuck on his teeth, but Tom is a product of very advanced technologies, he is able to learn quickly, and the android, assessing Alma’s reaction to certain actions, corrects his behavior.
During the period of the experiment, we will be able to learn a lot about Alma herself: about her tragedy, her childhood love, her relationship with her ex-husband, her work and her inner world. Will this experiment be successful? This is completely unknown. Alma is very pragmatic, she does not want any new relationship and is rather hostile towards Tom. In addition, she is well aware that Tom is a robot, an android.
The film “I was made for you” (original title in United Statesn translated as “I am your man”) by actress and director Maria Schrader (she is the director of the very famous series “Unorthodox”, hit by Netflix). The script is based on the short story of the same name by Emma Braslavsky, but the plot of the picture has been heavily reworked compared to the story.
“I’m Made for You” was a participant in the Berlin Film Festival 2021, it was nominated for the main award, and actress Maren Eggert, who played Alma, received the Silver Bear for best performance. (At the Berlin Film Festival, there is no longer a gender division for Best Actor.)
To be honest, I started watching it all without much interest: it was quite clear where the plot would move and what exactly the creators of the picture would beat. But, however, pretty quickly the picture began to like, and in the end I watched it with great pleasure. There are no sharp plot twists here, everything is more or less predictable, but what matters here is how it’s all played and how it’s staged.
And it is played and staged downright wonderful! If at first it seemed that it would be such a fairly typical rom-com with playing on the capabilities of the android and Alma’s feelings towards him, then in the end it turned out that this is such a very atmospheric and very stylish tragicomedy staged with great skill.
Maren Eggert was great as Alma. A strong woman, a difficult character, loneliness and unwillingness to re-experience the psychological trauma associated with parting. Initially, Tom is just an object of study for her, and when she herself – which is quite expected – begins to feel some feelings for him, this creates a big problem for her, because she knows that he is a robot. And there, at the end, Alma sums up the experiment and explains very clearly what she thinks about it in general. And this is only her opinion, because the audience may have a completely different view on this issue. And it’s not for nothing that we are shown Alma’s meeting with a 62-year-old man, who is accompanied by a female android, and this android changed his whole life.
Tom was portrayed by British actor Dan Stevens: he played Matthew Crowley in Downton Abbey, Stevens also played a very funny role of a handsome singer from United States in the film Eurovision Music Contest: The Story of the Fire Saga. His volume turned out absolutely wonderful, and I honestly don’t understand why he didn’t at least get a nomination for it at the Berlin Festival. Dan and director Maria Schrader came up with very interesting touches for Tom in the manner of his behavior, which, on the one hand, show that he is an android, but, on the other hand, Tom is a very charismatic and charming character. Stevens really liked the role came out wonderful. By the way, Stevens himself spoke German in the film: according to the plot, he was supposed to have a slight British accent.
The staging and cinematography are also noteworthy. The creators of the picture perfectly build a picture in which both objects and lighting play a role. Some shots are very beautiful on their own.
A very good film, I did not even expect that I would like it so much – like rom-com and rom-com. But it is deeper and more interesting than just a rom-com, there is a lot of good humor in the picture, Tom’s artificial origin is played very carefully, and there is no vulgarity in this. Add to this an interesting and spectacular musical accompaniment by the composer Tobias Wagner – and you get all the ingredients of a truly worthy movie.
PS I watched in German with subtitles. I listened to the official United States dubbing: both translated very high quality and well voiced. But there is nothing surprising in this: the Volga studio was engaged in dubbing, and they always do it perfectly, I have never met hack-work from them.
PPS In 2019, the film “(NOT) the ideal man” was released in United States with a similar plot. The film was directed by Marius Weisberg, so it was immediately possible to assume what kind of crap would come out of all this. The audience rating of 4.5 and the corresponding reviews confirm this assumption one hundred percent.
I’m Your Man / Ich bin dein Mensch review
Director: Maria Schrader Cast: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meyer, Falilu Sek, Jurgen Tarrach, Henrietta Richter-Rohl, Monika Oschek
Fantastic tragicomedy, Germany, 2021, 105 min.