‘Her’: a brilliant portrayal of society’s love with new technology

| January 14, 2014 | 0 Comments
Joaquin Phoenix in "Her." MCT

Joaquin Phoenix in “Her.” MCT

Spike Jonze is known to take slightly unbelievable movie concepts and humanize them in an interesting way. Jonze’s portrayal of the influence and integration of technology into society is rather unsettling, as well as completely believable. Our culture already romantizes technology innovations (from new social media platforms to updates to our computer’s operating systems) and according to Jonze, we’re only a few years away from us actually falling in love with them.

In “Her,” depressed writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) has recently separated from the love of his live Catherine (Rooney Mara) and resorts to finding comfort in his technologies, from the somewhat innocent video games to the not so innocent online sex chat rooms. In the midst of his day-to-day, Twombly discovers a new operating system to download for his home computer and phone, named OS1. The technology is a revolutionary innovation, molding its programming around what its user needs and creating an Artificially Intelligent person that is immensely complex and realistic.

His personalized AI, Samantha (voiced by the soothing and sultry Scarlett Johanson) immediately feels like a person. An impressed Theodore takes notice of her chuckles and her other seductive ways, and Samantha falls in love with his nerdy innocence. And from there, their infatuation with one another grows as exponentially as Samantha’s technological capabilities, and that becomes problematic for them both.

Outside of the futuristic elements, simply the love story is written between Theodore and Samantha is more eventful than a typical love story. It reinvigorates some normal concepts of relationships using its abnormal premise. As a viewer, we may picture a person on the other side of the conversations with Theodore, but the constant reminder of how she isn’t human is often too upsetting and interesting.

But what makes “Her” so heartbreaking is how close it comes to its portrayal of an imminent reality. The universe Jonze has created here is futuristic enough to be entertaining, but feels real enough to be uncomfortable. It’s a painting of what life will be life in the near future. Some elements may be a little Jonze-stylized,  but none of the ideas it presents seem far-fetched.

In every aspect, “Her” is as intoxicating, compelling and lovable as the OS Theodore falls in love with. From the environment, to the dialogue, to the superb supporting characters, “Her” is a glimpse of our future and a sobering look at the way society is falling in love with technology.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment

Patrick Bogans

About the Author ()

Patrick is a former Community Editor and A&E editor for the Niner Times. He is pursuing a Communications major with minors in Film Studies and Journalism at UNC Charlotte. Contact him at pbogans@uncc.edu.

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