“Your eyes are like two mountain lakes I could sink into” is a compliment most women would be disinclined to take umbrage at. But Alma (Maren Eggert) is not most women: A prickly scientist and cuneiform expert, she’s interested neither in flattery nor the man who’s delivering it. His name is Tom (Dan Stevens), he’s gorgeous, and he’s available. He is also a robot.
Inspired by a short story by Emma Braslavsky, “I’m Your Man” is a cool and clever sci-fi love story. Alighting on weighty questions with disarming playfulness, the script (by the director, Maria Schrader, and Jan Schomburg) never overreaches. Alma is lonely, but not desperate; brisk, but not unromantic. (She sees poetry in the ancient texts she’s studying). So when she’s asked to test-run a synthetic soul mate in exchange for a donation to the Berlin museum where she works, she reluctantly agrees.
More gentle and droll than joke-a-minute, “I’m Your Man” — like the excellent TV series “Humans” — muses over the barriers to human-android partnerships. Tom, like much of the internet, is algorithmically designed to give Alma increasing amounts of what she likes; yet her exasperation over these attentions is as confusing to her as to him. Flirting, we learn, is the most difficult skill to program, but adjusting for human cussedness must run a very close second.
Edging now and then into the surreal, this unusual and tender little movie gingerly interrogates the gulf between digital and biological wiring. Stevens, speaking fluent German, is fabulous, giving the character unexpected depth and delicacy. Tom can quote Rilke and dance the rumba, whip up brunch and a rose-petal bath, but so what? He had me at those mountain lakes.
I’m Your Man
Rated R for cross-life-form canoodling. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters.