Movie of the Week: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Steven Spielberg directs Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law and Frances O’Conner in this sci-fi drama where a human looking robot boy is programmed to love and then abandoned into a world of unemployment, abuse, exploitation and resentment.

A damning assessment of humanity hidden in a fairytale rollercoaster ride. I know it has its detractors. I know the weird mix of emotive longing and shifting creepiness and theoretical musing and contactless sex and millennia spanning twists throw many people. But for me this Spielberg’s richest work, marrying his spectacular showman instincts with his more heartfelt intellectual grown-up leanings. You can have larks picking out what came from Stanley Kubrick’s extensive pre-production work but this plays like peak but disillusioned Amblin to me. The family friendly childhood fantasy melders grown up and sophisticated. The filmmakers have created a work with so many smart parallels, hidden portents and moments of smooth visual dialogue you cannot help but be overwhelmed. Every time I get lost in A.I., I’m amazed by the pinnacle excellence of the world building and the bold shifts in storytelling. It is an unparalleled production. This is hard sci-fi… exploring big questions so that if you were thrown by the talking teddy or child actor protagonist (or hyper evolved singularity robots from the future who happen to look like aliens) that shows up your own prejudices rather than any deficits in the final product. This is one of the most rigorously intelligent, open ended pieces of blockbuster filmmaking ever realised. The entirety interrogates the idea of what it is to be human, to dream, to create and exploit other intelligences for our own base wants. It is a film that ends with a relic of humanity selfishly creating his own A.I. automaton to fulfil his imprinted needs and desires… There’s never been a bleaker, saccharine happy ending. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the world.”


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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