The latest short film from director Spike Jonze, I'm Here gives an interesting look at an alternative world, where robotic humanoids live and work alongside the regular population.
Sheldon, such a robot, lives a life of frugal urban mundanity, trapped in an existence devoid of particular discernible meaning. Working as a librarian, he goes about his daily routine, shy and timid, yet yearning for more in his simplistic, ritualistic and empty life. Seeing Francesca, a fembot, whilst waiting for a bus one day, he admires her spirit and liveliness. Befriending her gradually, the two slowly come to fall in love.
I'm Here rapidly and effectively establishes the life of Sheldon: vacuous, monotonous, and incomplete. The simple emptiness of his apartment combines with the austerity of his surroundings to paint an intimate portrait of isolation and loneliness in a world bigger than he; his eyes containing the key faint glimmer of hope of escape from this prison of perfunctory tasks. With staggering special effects, this world is brought perfectly to life, the robots' existence seeming entirely conceivable and their intermingling with society appearing completely normal. The limited facial expressions of the electrical characters often achieve a great deal more than their mammalian counterparts, demonstrating the wonder of the animation. Francesca gives the quintessential antithesis to Sheldon, showing us all he is not though the boldness and fun loving nature of her character. Their pairing is a wonderful one, the effect they have on each other seen immediately and splendidly, the individual characteristics of each impacting upon the other. Sheldon's development is the film's centrepiece, his evolution from the banal emptiness of his previous life to the fulfilling and stimulating one with his new friend accomplished masterfully. Without the advantage of physical intercourse, Jonze is restricted in his realisation of this relationship, yet manages in thirty minutes to give us what most directors can only hope to achieve in three times that. His story is both simple and engaging, moving and uplifting despite its lack of complication, showing us the transcendent power of love.
A miniature gem, I'm Here is involving, engaging, thrilling and uplifting. Jonze once again proves his cinematic brilliance, giving us a fantastic viewing experience, and one which promises to remain in mind for a long time.
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