A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)


A new type of robot, a child capable of love, is adopted by a couple – but the robot, David, soon finds himself alone and on the run…

Seen before? Yes, on 26 September 2001 at the UCI Derby.

Best performance: David is played by Haley Joel Osment (the best Anakin Skywalker we never got). He’s simultaneously innocent and creepy, adorable and unsettling, familiar and unusual. And he never at any point blinks.

Best scene/moment/sequence: “I love you, David.”

Review: The look of this film is simply stunning – freeze-frame any random moment and you could hang the resulting image in a gallery. It’s Spielberg letting his peerless imagination loose with camera, lights, filters, smoke, shadows and budget. Wonderful production design and cinematography lead us through the film’s three discrete sections: a cold, clinical, quiet and airy opening (childhood); a grimy, gritty, seedy and almost post-apoc middle (growing up); and a lyrical, fairy-tale ending (death). Each one is, in its own way, *entrancing*. There’s real emotional substance here. It’s a film about some heavy subjects – love, identity, innocence, guilt, motherhood, belonging, human rights, cruelty… It has one of the best juvenile leads in cinema history. It’s challenging and demanding and emotional. It’s probably Spielberg’s strangest film. It’s certainly his most underrated.

Ten blue fairies out of 10.

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