Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun’s new film “Love Me” had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19th, garnering polarizing reactions from critics. The unconventional sci-fi romance film tells the story of a lonely satellite technician (Stewart) who falls in love with a buoy robot with artificial intelligence (voiced by Yeun).
- “Love Me” premiered at Sundance Film Festival to a divided critical response
- The film stars Kristen Stewart as a satellite technician and Steven Yeun as the voice of a buoy robot she falls in love with
- Critics praised the visuals and ambition but felt the execution was mixed
- Reactions ranged from calling it “provocative” and “absorbing” to “uneven” and “overstuffed”
- It remains to be seen how general audiences will receive the unusual AI love story
Critical Reaction Spans from Provocative to Uneven
Reviews out of Sundance were decidedly mixed, with reactions ranging from praising the film as visionary to critiquing it as messy.
David Ehrlich of IndieWire called it “a provocative/absorbing mix of world-building, tone poem, and rom-com,” saying it created “a fragile intimacy unmatched by most human stories.” However, he found the ending rushed.
The Guardian said the premise held interest but ultimately felt “overstuffed,” critiquing an imbalance between the satellite operator story and AI love angle.
Collider’s review called it “messy yet captivating,” praising the lead performances but noting the shift in tone and pace in the final act.
Variety described it as “a movie of conflicting impulses” that built atmosphere but struggled to connect its ideas.
Kristen Stewart’s Performance Widely Praised
While critics differed on elements of the film, Kristen Stewart’s lead performance was consistently lauded. Her portrayal of the isolated satellite technician was called “note perfect” by IndieWire and “mesmerizing” by Collider.
Variety wrote “Stewart keeps you hooked even when the story veers into insanity,” while The Wrap said she grounds the film with “emotional authenticity.” Her range from yearning tocutoff kinetic was noted as a standout.
|Quote on Stewart’s Performance
|“Stewart is note-perfect”
|“Mesmerizingly dialed in”
|“Keeps you hooked even when the story veers into insanity”
|“Emotional authenticity that grounds the loftier ideas”
Unique Premise Blends Sci-Fi and Romantic Themes
The film’s genre-blending premise of a woman falling in love with an AI buoy stood out as winning over some critics while leaving others cold.
Detractors like The Guardian criticized the concept for lacking substance, with the AI love angle not convincingly meshing with the satellite technician storyline.
However, IndieWire called the premise “as bold as it is bizarre,” creating an atmosphere that resonates emotionally if not always logically. The Hollywood Reporter also noted that while the ideas don’t fully connect, the filmmaking ambition was impactful.
Praise centered on the film finding moments of resonance between sci-fi and romantic genres despite unevenness in tying the threads together completely.
Next Steps: Audience Reaction Key
With critics split at Sundance, the next barometer for “Love Me” will be general audience reception.
As an unconventional cross-genre film, word-of-mouth and ratings from general viewers once it reaches theaters or streaming could diverge from critic opinions in either direction.
The relative commercial success of recent ambitious sci-fi romances like “Ex Machina” and “Her” suggest potential appeal. But the unusual premise and pacing issues noted by critics could also pose challenges for mainstream success.
Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun’s fame and fanbase will likely bolster interest. But the film’s ultimate fate depends on wider audience reaction as it expands beyond the festival circuit.
The unpredictability of response from diverse viewers makes “Love Me” one of the more intriguing releases to watch in 2024. Its Sundance launch kicks off a crucial period to see if this idiosyncratic AI love story finds a broader connection.
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