romance has become more and more complicated, but this is undoubtedly the
first love story between a human being and a computer operating system.
Surprisingly, Her does not treat its story as a comedy of a human in
love with an inanimate object – like the fine 2007 comic drama Lars
and the Real Girl. No, director Spike Jonze has something much
more subversive in mind, which I suppose should not be a big surprise to
people who are familiar with Jonze's previous films Being John Malkovich,
Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are.
takes a unexpectedly serious look at modern love and isolation. It
takes on a pretty heavy question, in a world where technology is
increasingly central in human lives, is it such a stretch that people could
become emotionally attached, even romantically involved, with their
machines? Let's face it, technologically we are probably a lot closer
than we might imagine to this kind of thing becoming a reality. Most
people have way more Facebook friends than real friends, after all, so is it
that huge a leap to think that eventually some people will just subtract
other humans from the equation?
the old saying goes, just because we can do it, does that mean we should do
it? Her does not exactly judge one way or the other on that
question, however it takes an interesting look at some of the potential
ethical and emotional ramifications of such a coupling.
takes place in Los Angeles, at an unspecified time in the not very
Theodore Twembley (Joaquin Phoenix) is a depressed office worker whose wife
left him a year earlier. He works for a website company which
specializes in creating "handwritten" notes to loved ones for fee.
Theodore spends his days baring emotions to strangers as though they were
from other strangers. Most nights are spent on virtual reality video
games or internet porn. He has a gorgeous apartment, some good
friends, but is in a major funk.
also a tech nerd, so when he hears ago a new revolutionary operating system,
he decides to give it a try. OS1 is a new program that learns through
experiences and has the potential to learn to think and feel.
he uploads the system, which for him is named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett
Johansson), he realizes that he has finally found the perfect woman.
She is caring, smart, funny, fully focused on him, and quickly learning more
and more of what it is like to be human.
problem is she doesn't actually have a physical body.
the more time that he spends with Samantha and the more immersed in his life
she becomes, the more that he realizes that he is falling in love with her.
And, as she learns about human feelings, she is falling for him as well.
about mixed relationships.
Her's favor, the film never mocks Theodore for his feelings. While
the film is very funny in parts, they do not play it for humor, as most
films would do. In fact, as the OS1 becomes more and more mainstream
in the story, the people of Los Angeles seem to be quite comfortable with
in a way a rather tragic situation: a man with great fear of commitment
finally committing to a relationship which just by definition cannot
physically work out. Jonze does not shy away from the problems but he
also does a wonderful job of making it a kind of exciting, intriguing idea.
is much deeper and more thoughtful than you would expect from the
thumbnail sketch of its plot. It is raucously funny and yet
shatteringly tragic. It is a contradiction and yet makes perfect
another triumph for Spike Jonze, one of the most eccentric minds in modern
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: January 10, 2014.