Cyborg She(My girlfriend is a robot)
If you could travel back in time to love, protect, and change all the wrongs for the one you love, would that be the perfect relationship? What if your protector was incredibly beautiful, always at your beck and call, never leaves your side, and totally loyal, loving, and to top it off, cooks up a mean meal? What’s the catch you say? How about the fact that she is a robot?
Kwak Jae-Young’s previous claim to fame was giving us the very popular love story – “My Sassy Girl”, which was another beautiful story, which takes you a few viewings to appreciate the nuances and the element of time travel in his work. It was also one of the first movies to put Korea and this writer on the world map.
Here, the story is actually a rather simple one at first glance. A man builds a robot, to go back in time to save himself from a calamity which leaves him crippled, and she not only does that, but serves, protects and saves his life more than once. Jiro, the man, then falls in love with the robot, and we live through the adventures of this unlikely duo.
However that would only cover the most superficial elements of this movie, and it bears comparison to many other movies with robots and time travel, whilst paying homage to them. How about the model of the robot? We are never told her name, but she is “Cyberdyne Model 103”, like the Terminator, and will never rest, stand guard erect at night, protecting her master, and is a hybrid of human tissue over a robotic innard. The robot also saves many along the way, usually because the maker (the future elderly Jiro), felt great compassion for the people involved.
But it is the dynamics of the relationship which makes this movie so special, and you should be warned, to get a box of tissue handy, because, whether you are a woman or a seemingly macho man, those tears glands will get a good workout. As will the stomach muscles as you laugh at both the slapstick antics, the subtle interactions of a man falling in love or getting used to a robotic, who is well played by a relatively unknown bikini model Ayase Haruka. She manages to look good (the easy part), act wooden (harder) and give a robot the full range of emotion, whilst reminding you she is made of steel and synthetic material but yet capable of the ultimate love – sacrifice for the one you care about (the hardest of all, to act and in life). She is a combination of innocence, beauty and toughness when the occasion calls for it, and yet, she can do all that without many of the facial expressions, we would call human. Eat that Arnie!
Now for the males amongst us, you may be wondering, or perhaps fantasising, about such a hot model for a girlfriend, but the show also exposes us to our own ego frailties, and reality, which we may not have considered. What if she is always around, 24/7, and isn’t the fun-loving hot chick or walks in an awkward way. Sure some of you may be quick to retort that a funny walk or range of movements is ok, but will you feel shy introducing her to friends, or get tired of having her around all day?
And the killer question, what if she cannot respond in the same way that you might envisage? There is a moment in the movie when Jiro expresses his frustration at not getting the same warm response that he gave to express his love, and blurts out his frustration, and demands that the robot leaves. Some of us may express disgust at a man not being able to treasure what good fortune he has, but it is a real possibility, and we always see people in life, who have affairs, or stray, even when they are married to a woman of their dreams.
The element of time travel is also well used here, and makes you ponder on what you would do to make things right, or will you want to go and live out someone’s life, and enrich their lives whilst showing them what true love is, by giving all of your life. It also allows the story to make us think of what we would do in the name of love for the ones who mattered.
Action fans and the men watching this won’t feel too left out too, as there are some action scenes, which are well put together, and fit nicely into the story, and actually help lead to the most emotional scene in the story. There will be a moment when true love is put to the test, and that leads to another scene, which without revealing too much, is one where love means spending the rest of your life, repairing and taking care of the other. Truly in sickness and in health.
The original dialogue is in Japanese, but it is also dubbed in Chinese, and you can also read the English subtitles, but the beauty of a movie about a robot, is that many of the things she is trying to express, does not require words, and works equally well even if the sound was muted.
Does it end well? Ah come forth the hopeless romantic, the curious, or even those waiting for a great show to make that move on the girl you have been spying….watch it to know the ending…
So are you sold? Who should watch this? Well for starters please don’t watch this alone. This is the perfect movie for a guy to take his date out, get some tissue paper ready in his pocket, fish it out at the right moments when it gets really emo, and most certainly there will be moments when your lady friend will greatly appreciate a strong warm arm around their shoulders, or gently reaching out to hold their hands in the slightly scary moments, and again, when the show tugs ever so strongly at their hearts. But keep your other arm handy, because you will be reaching for those same tissue too, and that’s good, since you look sensitive and new age too. There are few better date movies around, and it may become one which both of you will enjoy time and again.