Her  (2013)

I'm fascinated by relationships. Why some work, why some don't. How two people find each other, how they grow together, how they may grow apart. I love to hear why people find certain others attractive or unattractive, how physical attributes can make up for emotional ones and vice versa. "Her" is a study on what brings us together, what love is, and how it affects us.

"Her" takes place an unmentioned number of years in the future. Most of the world is the same, there are no flying cars or anything, it's just a world where technology is even more omnipresent than it currently is. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a nerdish guy who seems to have some social anxiety. He purchases "OS1", a new computer operating system that is the most advanced artificial intelligence ever created. After it is installed, OS1 absorbs all information about Theodore's life, and uses that data to create a personality of its own.

OS1 names itself Samantha, and she begins to bond with Theodore. It actually plays out like something of a long-distance relationship. Two people can share an intimacy without physical interaction, although in this situation one of the people isn't a person. It sounds absurd, and it's easy to dismiss it as some dweeb being in love with his computer, but it goes much deeper than that. Think of everything that is on your computer right now. All the music you have, your browser history, old emails, pictures you post on Facebook. All of these things reveal your personality, maybe in ways you don't reveal to others. We're supposed to love what's inside, right? Not just physical beauty, we need to connect on an emotional and psychological level. There's a vulnerability displayed by Theodore whenever he talks with Samantha, because there's nowhere to hide. In face-to-face interactions, a person can hide with body language, or omit details; when the operating system has all your secrets, there's no use being anything but completely open.

Director Spike Jonze seemed to be making commentary on the nature of social media, how much of our lives we share on the internet, along with the idea that companies are watching our every click to cater directly to us. They know what websites we visit, they know what we shop for, they know what clothes we wear, what music we listen to. Jonze also seems to question how advanced artificial intelligence can and should become. He leaves an ambiguous answer, but still gives an impactful ending.

Beyond all the philosophical aspects, the movie itself is beautiful. Jonze uses color, music and camera angles to create his own world. The cinematography is able to highlight how a computer would "see" the world. Some of the music is a bit too indie for my tastes, but it fits the movie and the vibe well enough.

I've worked through some long-distance relationships myself, I've had friends meet people online, I've had friends say they fell in love with someone they never met. The stigma of iInternet dating has dwindled, online relationships seems to be creeping up...could this really be the next step?



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Her" gets an 8 out of 10.


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