What makes A.I. Steven Spielberg's most interesting work is that it's the first of his movies to be both a children's film and a film for adults. The story for children is the one the narrator tells—— Pinocchio all over again. But the story for adults is about hopeless attachments and self-delusion; every character is obsessed with the image of a lost loved one, and tries to replace that person with a technological simulacrum. It's also a film about human brutality, callousness, and greed. This is a story not about a boy who becomes human, but about the death of humanity.
Beneath its broad caricatures and genrebending, O Brother, Where Art Thou? has an earnest, Depressionera agenda. Its episodic plot can be understood as a series of moral trials in which the solidarity of the poor is tested by various threats and temptations of the rich and powerful. The most crucial of these tests is put not to the film's protagonists, but to its audience: Will we see, as clearly as do the three white fugitives, that their fate is inextricably bound to that of their black brethren?