All the Oscar buzz and critical commentary bouncing around the interwebs finally convinced us to see Spike Jonze’s new film, Her, this weekend:

her

Her played out as many other romance tales before. Meet our boy, Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore. Theodore is in the midst of a midlife crisis. His job does not fulfill him. His marriage is over. A steady depression has alienated him from his friends. Enter our girl – in this case an OS – Samantha voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Together they find joy… until they don’t.

Beneath the standard romantic plot there lies something a bit terrifying. An anxiousness rose in my chest as the film progressed. I’m still trying to put my finger on what that was and where it came from, so bear with me here and feel free to disagree.

The terror doesn’t come from the growth of artificial intelligence. It doesn’t come from the way technological tentacles of dependence reach into every aspect of our lives – work, play, love. No, this movies shies away from that kind of commentary. I think the terror is rooted in the rather stable relationship between Samantha and Theodore. This human-OS relationship isn’t revolutionary, it’s dull. Theodore gets everything he needs from Samantha. Everything.

Yep that’s it. I find that complete satisfaction terrifying. Done.

*Added bonus – that my beautiful, nerdy wife pointed out – conversations about the movie can result in the most delightful grammatical missteps. Technically not errors since Her is a noun in this situation. “Her is really good. Her had a great plot and soundtrack. Her was just the right length.”
Nerdful giggles commence.

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