MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 17, 2021: I’M YOUR MAN

If Westworld had been a romcom instead of a gory sci-fi parable, it might have ended up looking something like Maria Schrader‘s winsome I’m Your Man, which follows a skeptical academic who agrees to test a “perfect partner” android in exchange for research funding support. Determined to poke the concept full of holes, she reluctantly finds herself drawn to her manufactured soulmate — and does a fair bit of self-analysis along the way.

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I’M YOUR MAN – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

I’m Your Man, directed by Maria Schrader, revolves around a robotic dreamboat who is part of a study involving companions who are tailored-made for one human’s personality and emotional needs. In the case of middle-aged academic Alma (Maren Eggert) — who just broke up with a co-worker — she signs on to the three-week experiment in order to fund her own research project. That requires her to live with non-human Tom (Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame, the most valuable player in the cast who constantly ups the humor ante with much aplomb. And take a moment to consider that this English actor had to learn German for his role).

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I’M YOUR MAN – Review by Liz Whittemore

I’m Your Man manages to be both feminist and romantic at the same time. Writer-director Maria Shrader has given audiences a think piece about love, trauma, loneliness, and the role of technology. The choice to make Alma a fiercely independent scientist specializing in anthropology is incredibly clever. She studies ancient cuneiform in an attempt to prove the early use of poetry and metaphor. Juxtaposed we have Tom a humanoid supercomputer programmed to be Alma’s ideal mate. For three weeks, Alma must report on Tom’s effectiveness. Is her scientific, skeptical mind standing between her and true love?

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I’M YOUR MAN – Review by Diane Carson

It isn’t easy to dramatize our complex emotional needs in an entertaining fashion through the involvement of an accomplished female anthropologist and a humanoid male robot. But that is exactly what German director Maria Schrader does in I’m Your Man. Interpreting Sumerian cuneiform tablets, anthropologist Dr. Alma Felser agrees to a three week trial and evaluation of the robot Tom.

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I’M YOUR MAN (Berlinale 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Maria Schrader’s I’m Your Man is a classic girl-meets-boy romcom, except that boy is a bot. And a German-speaking Dan Stevens shaped bot called Tom, at that. A fun movie with a perhaps surprisingly emotional punch, I’m Your Man is surely the high-tech feel-good romcom of the year.

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Women Filmmakers Highlight Berlinale 2021 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Following demands in recent years for film festival culture to frankly lift its game when it comes to raising the visibility of women filmmakers in particular, the 2021 Berlinale will showcase both highly anticipated women-directed films and lesser-known curios alongside a number of male-directed films centering on women in front of the camera. Highlights include world premieres of Lina Roessler’s Best Sellers with Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza, and Natalie Morales’s Language Lessons starring herself and Mark Duplass. Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman is one of the most highly-anticipated films of the entire festival.

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Maria Schrader on UNORTHODOX, Directing and Global Influence – Loren King interviews

Coming from the art house film world where small indies struggle for attention an audiences, Berlin-based actor/director Maria Schrader marvels at Netflix’s instant global reach. “I realized how in an instant [it creates] buzz in many countries and then suddenly everyone is watching. This is actually the most incredible thing — that women wearing burkas are seeing [Unorthodox] in Arabic countries. It is amazing.”

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UNORTHODOX – Review by Susan Granger

Inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir, this revelatory four-part mini-series follows the religious rebellion of 19 year-old Esther “Esty” Shapiro (Israeli actress Shira Haas) as she escapes from her strictly traditional husband and family in Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community to fly to Germany with only a passport and some cash.

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UNORTHODOX – Review by Martha K Baker

Netflix’ four-part series about a young woman seeking liberation fromNew York’s Hasidic community is positively riveting. The series, impressively directed by Maria Schrader, is based on the memoir by Deborah Feldman entitled, significantly, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.

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