Movie Short Review: ‘I Am’

Greetings again from the darkness. This 26 minute short film is written by Florens Huhn and directed by Jerry Hoffman (also an actor). The two previously collaborated on a 2019 short film entitled MALL. This one is a rare science fiction short film, and it combines the emotions of grief and guilt with the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

An excellent Sheri Hagen stars as Noe, a woman living in an A-frame house deep in the forest. We learn she’s grieving over the recent loss of Lea, who we believe to be her sister. One day, while on a hike, Noe finds a droid. She hauls it back to her house and repairs it, kicking off an unusual and uncomfortable relationship.

The droid – named Ela (an obvious anagram of Lea) – is quite lifelike, and designed to learn and mimic. For Noe, who suffers from horrendous nightmares, this trait is not much appreciated. It’s fine when the two are dancing to music, but gets awkward through haircuts, singing, and vocalization. Are the two bonding or is something more sinister at work? Ela is played well by Melodie Wakivuamina.

We see drones tracking in the sky, leaving us to guess the purpose, but mostly what we witness is a guilt-riddled woman needing to connect … and sharing “broken heart” stories with a droid, just as if they were besties. How far will we see AI go in our lifetime? The answer likely depends on one’s age.

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