A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director/Writer:Steven Spielberg
Warner Bros. and DreamWorks; PG-13; 140 minutes
Cast:Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor

Don't take the young kids to see the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubrick production A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Not because it's a bad movie (it's a very good one), but because it will probably give them nightmares. The story takes place in a near future where melting ice caps have ravaged the planet and the remaining population relies on humanlike mecha robots for basic needs. David (Haley Joel Osment) is a first—a mecha programmed to love unconditionally and to elicit human love in response. David gets placed into the home of Monica and Henry, parents whose child is terminally ill and cryogenically frozen. Monica flips David's imprinting switch that means he will love her obsessively, irreversibly, for the rest of his existence. Things sour when their biological child miraculously returns. Before David gets kicked out of his family he reads Pinocchio and decides that he must become human to make his mother love him as much as he loves her.

This is the basic scenario, but A.I. is a surprisingly serious and dark excursion into the more troubling issues raised by love, loneliness, and humanity. Take the Flesh Fair, for example. It's a disturbing carnival where humans take out frustrations against mechas by mutilating and disfiguring them. Jude Law co-stars as Gigolo Joe, a robotic sex worker who befriends David.

Spielberg, with the initial partnership of Stanley Kubrick, takes more risks than usual, creating a richly ambiguous film. A.I.'s vision of the future is particularly believable. Think of E.T. crossbred with A Clockwork Orange. Daring.

Sources +