Her: Introspective and absorbing
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara and Scarlett Johansson (Voice)
Director: Spike Jonze
Heya, does anyone remember that lovely Barbara Streisand song, People who need people are the luckiest people in the world? It should have been on the soundtrack of this introspective and absorbing film about people who become besotted with techno-gadgets after they are unable to maintain a loving relationships with other people.
Set in Los Angeles in the not so distant future, the titular pronoun refers to the object of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) Twombly’s desire: the Operations System (OS) on his personal computer and smart phone. “Her” then, explores the nature of human relationships in an increasingly digitised world.
Writer-director Jonze introduces him to us in a tight close-up. I am touched by a beautiful letter he is reading but then find that he is paid to write such heartfelt missives along with many others. Theodore has a penchant for red (shirts, interiors) and is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Catherine (Rooney Mara) but the marriage turns sour when she changes. That is, refuses to be a submissive hausfrau.
When his employer provides the employees with the latest OS endowed with artificial intelligence beyond compare. Theodore names his personalised (female) version Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The OS is a god-like, omniscient presence that reads books in a minute and composes classical music. Unlike Catherine, Samantha is not argumentative or judgemental. For Theo who has been addicted to phone and chat sex, the OS is a dream come true and it’s (sorry, her) bodily absence his heart grow fonder. Unlike the rapist computer in a film whose name escapes me now, Samantha is warm, affectionate curious and sensitive and it’s not long before their camaraderie deepens into “love”. But is it love? Can one love a disembodied voice?