Rated R 4 stars of 5
I just saw “Her” and I feel kind of guilty telling my wife that I liked “Her.” It get’s weirder, because it’s that kind of movie.
Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix from “The Master”) has gone through a rough breakup and is having trouble connecting with people. He decides to start computer dating; I mean, he starts dating his computer operating system, and I am not going to make any laptop jokes.
Her name is Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson from “Hitchcock”), and she is really easy to talk to. She is the first artificially intelligent operating system that grows and learns through experience. She gets to know him really well, and he falls in love with her. She is always there for him and listens to all his problems. She never has any of her own problems, and it is so easy to turn her on. Whoa – I just got lost in the metaphor – but it was a movie, though it seemed so real. Told you it was going to get weird.
Writer/Director Spike Jonze (“Where the Wild Things Are”) has done something amazing here. In revealing Theodore’s shortcomings, he has shown us the reason most relationships end up with the blue screen of death: one person outgrows the other, or rather, is not compatible for an upgrade.
This is a lovely and educational way to look at a relationship. I am sensitive to Theodore, as I once dated a computer, until she left me for someone with a bigger hard drive.
This movie is set in the future, at some time when they don’t have belts and guys are not ashamed to date an operating system. However, the gimmick of “live” computer girlfriend was too perfect, because it always sounded like Scarlett Johansson was just on the phone. I never felt she was a computer, as from the start she had the same voice inflection and personality of a… person. Maybe a less famous and more mechanical voice would have solved that, but then nobody is going to fall in love with Siri.
Trouble begins when Samantha has her own “wants,” and I thought she was going to go all “Skynet,” but not all women, I mean, operating systems are like that.
The movie was beautiful and excelled at its exploitation of intimacy. Sometime in the future, we men may be able to have a meaningful relationship with a computer system. But that will not happen unless men learn how to evolve and allow their mates to grow on their own.
I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. I think this is an astounding film, but then I don’t think I am mature enough to date a Commodore 64.
Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.
Here is a link to his movie review site: http://bashmovies.wordpress.com/