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Thursday, May 06, 2021
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Robots in love

Grade: A-

The story of boy meets girl has been told hundreds of times in the world of film. It only makes sense that innovative director Spike Jonze could take such a cliché story and give it a facelift.
Jonze's new short film, I'm Here, is about the loving relationship of two robots. This 30-minute short, set in contemporary Los Angeles, is a quirky and bizarre love story.
Jonze tells the usual love story, but he replaces the human boy and girl with robots. It seems like a small change, but Jonze works wonders with it. He creates an eccentric facsimile of our world where robots and humans coexist, with hints of prejudice toward robots.
The film centers on the robot Sheldon (Andrew Garfield, Air). He is a shy and introverted robot that is stuck in a quiet, mundane life. Sheldon is stuck in a cycle of working at the library and having a boring life at home, until he meets an adventurous and spontaneous female robot.
Garfield is excellent as Sheldon. His portrayal of Sheldon is one of the most entertaining things about the film.
Sienna Guillory (Inkheart) plays the free-spirited robot that Sheldon falls for while waiting at the bus stop. Her carefree attitude entices Sheldon and brings him out of his shell.
The happy-go-lucky Guillory is a great matchup to the quiet Garfield. Guillory fully embraces the role and is fun to watch, yet she brings a quiet sadness to the character that nicely fleshes her out more.
The film is charming and pleasant, as Sheldon and his robot lover portray the typical romantic fairytale with the sad reality of love. The storyline thickens as the two begin to fall for each other.
Sheldon's interest in her is a reminder that robots, just like humans, lose themselves in relationships, not necessarily because of love but because of the idea of being with someone. Sheldon breaks away from the monotony of his once boring life, but at the risk of something dangerous: love.
Aside from the underlying romanticism, this mythological world changes one's perspective on life. It shows these robots trying to adapt to a human world. They are becoming engulfed in society and begin to realize their presence in the world.
Realizing that they are not merely mindless robots, they embrace their aliveness by dancing and posting hand-drawn pictures of happy faces with "I'm Here" inscribed on them.
Like Jonze's other films, the visual effects are truly amazing. The robots have an uncanny look, which gives them a one of a kind cartoony image, but the viewer still immediately gets the feeling that these are real creatures. It is very reminiscent of Jonze's previous work, Where the Wild Things Are.
The acting definitely shows through the phony robot costumes. As the film pushes on, it is easy to care about them and see through the robot exterior, which shows off the two leads' great portrayal.
Acting as director, writer and producer, Jonze has added yet another great project in his imaginative library, which already includes innovative material ranging from feature length films to music videos.
Considered one of his most personal works to date, some say this film was made after a breakup involving either Jonze himself, or a close friend. Regardless of his personal life, Jonze's message is clear. Through his experiences, he is showing viewers to not be fooled by love or damaging relationships.
The short film, which is funded by Absolut Vodka, grabbed the attention of many viewers after it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. The story is coincidentally about finding true love in an "absolut world."
The film can be seen online at




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