Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
Be afraid. Be very afraid. No this isn’t a horror movie, but when you think about it, the prospect of artificial intelligence becoming crazily advanced is a bit worrying. Operating systems could kill us all! That’s not actually what this movie is about but it is an implication. No, what Her is really about is recent divorcé Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and how he falls for his artificially intelligent operating system, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Sort of like Siri but about 1000x better and with a much sexier voice. Her is set in the not-so-distant future – the exact year wasn’t specified which is probably a good thing because we are soooo not going to have hoverboards next year, Back to the Future 2… OR WILL WE? I did find myself constantly wondering how plausible the proposed future in Her was, and my PhD scientist boyfriend who is waaaaaaay smarter than me said it was all very plausible and that technology could potentially kill us, even if that technology was just told to make paper clips – THANKS FOR FREAKING ME OUT, DUDE! (Okay I may be over-simplifying his point here but I don’t really get science). To be honest, the idea of a personalised operating system doesn’t seem too far-fetched at all – when Theodore went into the shop to purchase one it just looked like a slightly updated Apple store but with trippier advertisements.
Her explores the idea that humans could potentially fall in love with artificially intelligent operating systems, and that this could become so common-place that your friends don’t even bat an eyelid when you tell them this MAJORLY EMBARRASSING fact. And then of course that relates to themes about people today having relationships with technology, blah blah blah, yeah I know I’m always checking my phone. And yes it was pretty sad in the scenes where people are just walking around seemingly talking to themselves (they were talking to their OS as opposed to just being dicks on Bluetooth) and having few ‘normal’ relationships with real people. What was TOTES AWKS though was when Theodore and Samantha have sex. So, essentially, phone sex, but where one of the parties involved is not actually a living thing. It felt awkward to watch (listen to?) and most people in the cinema were sniggering at the weirdness of it all. It was strange. Don’t see this with your Mum. Or Dad. Or grandmother.
Spike Jonze who directed the equally weird and awesome Being John Malkovich (1999) and Adaptation (2002) has certainly given us a few interesting ideas to chew over and I must say I am officially a fan of his. The cinematography was also pretty terrific – I found myself wanting to pat Jonze and the cinematographer, Hoyte Van Hoytema (what a name!), on the back multiple times. And then there was the acting. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – Joaquin Phoenix is CRAAAAAAAAAAZY good! I’m tempted to say he was robbed of an Oscar nom although there were so many good performances this season. He was magnificent. Scarlett Johansson was also very good as merely a vocal presence – apparently the whole film was shot with Samantha Morton as the voice and in post-production Jonze decided it wasn’t quite right and re-recorded all of it with Johansson. Tough break, Morton. Amy Adams was her adorable self, and Rooney Mara is the most beautiful woman of all time – it almost hurts to look at her. Rounding out the cast was Chris Pratt as Theodore’s colleague who was hilarious, partly because of his heinous 70s wardrobe. Actually, everyone was in 70s get-up – it’s so disturbing that bad fashion trends could potentially keep returning forever and ever. WILL WE EVER ESCAPE FROM DENIM SHORTS THAT LOOK LIKE UNDIES?!
If you’re after something a bit different, a bit weird (but not in a wanky way), and with an A-grade cast of actors: look no further. This is definitely a worthwhile film to watch. Try not to check your phone while watching though*, OR THE ROBOTS WIN. Or something.
*Just to clarify, I never check my phone during a film at the actual cinema because I’m not a pain in the arse.