Her is the theatrical answer to “What if I could date Siri; that hot voice in my iPhone.” Not a question I remember asking but Spike Jonze did and that guy knows how to set a trend. This film may very well lead us to a near future full of ’30s style clothes and lots of mustaches but what’s most evident is how lonely we all just might become if we keep burying our faces in our phones.
The story revolves around writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix); a recently separated man, living alone while supporting himself as a letter writer. Due to our growing issue with social adaptation, apparently the human race grows too lazy to write their own letters to loved ones. This was a hard concept for me to grasp in a world that already relies on email and social media for most of its communication, but I was able to continue. Without social interaction, we distract ourselves with organization; A hobby that, in this future, necessitates a computerized personal assistant. When OS1 is announced, a new artificially intelligent virtual assistant, the lonely Theodore takes the opportunity to upgrade. In this inter-synced world, OS1 facilitates itself into your personal computer, cellular telephone, bluetooth (or some such technology), and office computer. This basically means that his assistant, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), will be with him everywhere he goes; in his ear, and within his breast pocket. Obviously this would warrant emotional strings towards any…being, right?
Theodore cannot cope with living and being alone and thus seeks companionship. The problem is that he seeks it from a machine and not from the friends he has around him. His behavior would be understandable if he didn’t have friends, but this seems to be set in a world where everyone would be considered anti-social. So even with friends, people keep to themselves and don’t seem to care very deeply about one another. The biggest problem I believe people will have with this film is that Theodore chooses to be a shut in. He has the choice to either interact with living beings or flirt with a machine and he chooses the latter. If Theodore fears people leaving him, as he has gotten used to, he is naïve for thinking an omnipotent machine would hold emotional tethers towards him.
Samantha is an ever evolving operating system. This means that she is collecting data and learning from it at a constant rate. If Theodore is reading a book, Samantha is reading 20,000 books, simultaneously. That is a speed of progression that no human could possibly keep up with but he falls for her anyway. You spend the rest of the movie just waiting for his heart to get ripped from his chest. It’s a form of torture to watch, almost, but there are quite a few uncomfortable scenes to distract you from his loneliness.
Amy Adams definitely got in character for this role and I rather enjoyed her rendition of the misunderstood documentary film maker friend to Theodore. Although, she had a cat lady like feel to her, she made me laugh a few times. Chris Pratt was my favorite casting in this one as the mustache matched coworker. He really lightened the mood in this otherwise deadly depressing movie. I enjoy the mellow feel I get from most Spike Jonze films but this one mostly made me want to cry for the main character. I believe this concept would have worked better as a short film rather than a two hour long lecture on why we need to stop and smell the roses. Stick around for the OS1 departure but the best part was definitely the phone sex conversation with unbilled Kristen Wigg in the first 5 minutes.
I give Spike Jonze’s Her, 2 and a half out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Check out the trailer below:
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