This film is just very interesting, and it is one that honestly doesn’t deserve the “speculative fiction” label. The story is about a man who is very lonely and develops a relationship with an operating system on his computer and smartphone. I believe that I actually talked about this film earlier this week.
Okay, this story, told by Spyke Jonze, a director who has done a lot of experimental films in the past, did a lot of things right in this film, and there is one choice that could have been made differently. This film seems to imply that it takes place in the future, and it is smart enough not to give the exact date. The only thing that looks futuristic is this holographic projection TV, not to mention the vocal operating system.
Personally, I think that with Siri and Google Talk, this story could have taken place today, and maybe this is the point. Her clearly illustrates that human beings are attempting to deal with their inherent loneliness with technology. The sad part is that it could work, but it will take its toll.
So in the film, Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a man who works at a place called BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, and if you enter that in on your computer now, it will direct you to a website about Her the movie. In the film, this company will write a handwritten letter for you, because apparently there is a market for that in the future. Is this supposed to be some commentary on how traditional handwriting letter has died in an age of technology? I think so, and again, this is also the point.
What is interesting is who Theodore lives in a city that is essentially L.A. (in fact, it says that it is Los Angeles). However, the shots of the city feel bigger than the L.A. that I visited, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they doctored this up. After the film shows Theodore at his job which is essentially writing letters to help people feel less lonely, he goes home and the city looks just empty of humanity. It looks so good and technological, but it feels so devoid of feeling. To make it even more lonely, it is learned that Theodore is going through a separation. Of course, Theodore indulges in online sex, which has negative results.
Once he learns that he can update his Operating System, it is easy for him to just start talking to her after it is revealed that this OS can have a woman’s voice, who calls herself Samantha. Now, this OS can actually do a lot, like get rid of emails, as well as being a good friend.
Now, this film could have gone several different directions. At first I thought that perhaps there was no new OS, and that Theodore is just crazy, hearing a voice in his head. Of course, since the world established that other people have these near-sentient operating systems, that wasn’t true. In fact, it is revealed that some people have developed relationships with their operating systems. In fact, there is one person revealed who has a relationship with someone else’s operating system. So not only are there intelligent operating systems, but they can two-time on their user.
So, here’s the weird thing about this film. I would not support anyone who is having a relationship with their operating system, but with this film, I am kind of rooting for Theodore and Samantha. If it was about having an emotional connection, I would be for this, maybe. Seriously, because if we can connect to our pets, can we not connect with some computer operating system?
The issue is that Theodore and Samantha cannot have physical relationship. I don’t really support premarital sex, and I will have to say that the way Samantha tries to fix this problem is unusual to say the least. Samantha starts a relationship with a woman via messaging named Isabella, and then tells Theodore that this real woman can have sex with him, like some kind of surrogate. Now, no money is exchanged in this setup, but it is weird. Isabella shows up at Theodore’s apartment, but does not speak. Instead, Theodore gives her a wireless earpiece and a camera that looks like a beauty mark. So when Theodore goes to try and have sex with Isabella, he just can’t bring himself to do it. Honestly, I can see his non-motivation, but many males would be all over that kind of relationship.
There are times where I spoil a film because I like to say what I believe that the ending says about the movie, but I don’t think I will that this time. I think that the ending is very good and I think it needs to be experienced.