Admitting to your friends that the film Her, directed and written by Spike Jonze, is one of your favorite movies instantly puts you into the shoes of the film’s protagonist Theodore Twombly.
“Wait isn’t that the movie where that dude falls in love with a computer?”
“Well actually his OS…”
“OS…Operating System. Like what runs your computer”
“Oh…and you liked the movie?”
Yes, despite the judgment, I did. In fact, much like Theodore fell in love with Samantha, his artificially intelligent operating system, I fell in love with the film about love, loss and acceptance.
Going into the movie I had my reservations much like my hypothetical conversation above. I judged the premise as a shallow attempt to cash in on a futuristic idea.
Okay, I thought to myself, he’s going to fall in love, get condemned by society, maybe go to the looney bin, fall in love with a real girl while secretly never getting over his “love” of a machine. End film right?
Wrong. The film follows Theodore, a quiet man who spends most of his time at his job where he writes letters of an intimate nature for other people who are unable to express their own feelings in written form, as he is working to get over a pending divorce to his childhood sweetheart Catherine. During this grieving process he finds himself lonely and bored of blind dates (even when they’re with Olivia Wilde) so he purchases himself a a new OS that is artificially intelligent and is able to communicate as if it’s human.
The relationship starts off innocent enough. They discuss Theodore’s love life and dates. They laugh and play stupid games together. They even stay up late discussing life and emotions. Eventually their intimacy takes off on another level and well, I won’t ruin the rest.
Let’s just say the relationship eventually hits a high point and, predictably, soon hits a low point. Cliche? Maybe, until you remember this is a relationship with, essentially a pumped up Siri.
So what is there to love about this film? To be honest I became so wrapped up in the love story that I nearly forgot the ridiculous premise. I forgot how strange it was for a man to be emotionally invested in a machine. You accept it because, and I believe this is the key to the movie working so well, the world around Theodore accepts it.
Other than one character, and only for a brief and very important moment, no one in the film brings up how strange the situation is. In fact the supporting characters fully embrace the relationship with little to no questions.
This is a movie about love and how love is love no matter who it is between. It is progressive and important. It is an ode to the joys of falling in love while also showcasing the importance of heartbreak.
The film is unique in that is starts off with a premise of what our world might look like in the future and ends with the idea that, hey it might not actually be that bad and the future might actually be a world full of support and not a world full of fear.