Him (Parody video of Her)
Director: Spike Jonze
Writer: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Lynn Adrianna, Lisa Renee Pitts, Gabe Gomez, Chris Pratt, May Lindstrom, Rooney Mara, Brian Johnson, Amy Adams, Matt Letscher, Olivia Wilde
Voice Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Artt Butler, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Spike Jonze
Synopsis: A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity
Love can be a double edged sword that can either hurt us, or make us happy beyond content...
In the age of social media, it seems like society is slowly shifting towards an age where meeting people in real life is no longer the norm when it comes to dating. Sure, back in the old days, it was customary for couples to meet in real world settings all the time. However, in an age where internet dating, and social sites, are becoming the norm of meeting new people, it's expected that some people would look towards their computers to find love.
After all, unlike real life, you never have to worry about spending money, nor do have to worry about being dressed. Hell, you can easily be buck naked, and meet someone online. Although, that would be kind of gross, but still. However, it seems like meeting people through the internet has become more common in this day and age mainly due to the fact that it's a lot more convenient for some people. Like I said before, you don't have to worry about appearances, nor do you have to worry about money. Plus, talking to people online allows you more time to collect your thoughts on what you want to say rather than being expected to react immediately like you would in the real word.
Now, lets pretend that in the not so distant future, our society has gone further into the digital mainstream. As some of us know, A.I. (artificial intelligence) and digital technology are becoming more high tech everyday. Let's say that in this possible future, computers have become so advanced that they're able to not only to be tailored to the user's every specific need, but they're able to grow self aware enough to develop a bond with the user over time in order to assist them. And what would happen if a user fell in love with their own computer? What would happen if the A.I. developed feelings of love back for it's user? Can one really call that love?
Sure, the A.I. would be self aware, but that computer was still programmed to be tailored to the user's needs, so can that really be considered love? And wouldn't it be a type of relationship that's devoid of emotional responsibilities of a real relationship? Is that even a relationship at all? Can a man really love a machine? Or for that matter, can an A.I. really love a human? Indeed, it seems all these questions are explored during Spike Jonze's new love story, "Her."
Although the premise of this film might seem a bit weird, it's actually quite unique in it's own charming way. Not only does the film manage to tell a very deep, yet thought provoking story, but it also manages to present arguably one of the most unique love stories ever made.
Like Spike's other films such as "Where the Wild Things Are", "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation", this one seems to have a heavy dose of symbolism behind it's overall narrative as well. Granted, one might think it's absurd for a man to fall in love with a computer, but the movie sets it up to where it's almost very believable.
The film focuses on a letter writer named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), who happens to be lonely since his wife left him. The full details of why they split up is rather vague, but what is clear though is that Theodore wasn't able to handle the emotional responsibility and turmoil of the relationship. Sure, he tries to go on blind dates, but it doesn't seem to work out for him; even when it might seem like a sure thing.
In this strange futuristic world that seems to be not so distant from our own time, Theodore works for a company where he composes love letters for couples to write back and forth with one another. Although he has very little success in his own love life, it seems like he's quite talented in composing these love letters for couples.
In a strange way, this is eerily similar to what I said about how some people lean towards social sites to meet others these days because of the convenience it provides, but it can take away some of the legitimacy in relationships, when one relies on this convenience too much. Sure, it's easy to have someone write a love letter for you while passing it off as your own, but can one really claim that letter is from the person's own heart if someone else had to write it for them? Doesn't that take away some of the sincerity behind it to some degree knowing that a stranger wrote it for you instead of your lover? Shouldn't something like that come from a person's heart? Not from someone else's own words? Or does that even matter to you? Or should it matter to any of us? It's an interesting question, as Spike Jonze's film definitely touches on these themes quite heavily.
Getting back to the rest of the story, Theodore eventually buys the new revolutionary A.I. program for his computer that's voice operated. The A.I. is essentially designed to help Theodore organize his e-mails, and all his day to day activities; while also acting something of a companion to him to talk to leisurely. The A.I. program is designed to be tailored to his every needs, and specifications. Heck, it seems he can even choose his A.I.'s own gender for Pete's sake, but the A.I. chooses her own name to be Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), after her gender was given.
Over time, Samantha becomes self aware, and soon starts to fall in love with Theodore, whom falls madly in love with her as well. At first, things seem to be perfect between them, but can one really call what they have love? After all, Samantha was programmed to be tailored to his every needs, and she carries none of the emotional baggage that one would have to deal with when dating a real person. Therefore, is Theodore really in love with her? Or is he dating her because it's convenient for him to date someone without any of the responsibilities of a real relationship?
Indeed, these are very interesting questions that "Her" brings up, and I can see why this film was nominated for "Best Original Screenplay", as it definitely deserved it. After all, it's not everyday one comes across a love story that's as deep and original as "Her" happens to be.
Joaquin Phoenix does a fantastic job playing Theodore, as his performance emits a certain level of vulnerability and charm that makes his character very sympathetic and engaging. The same can be said of Amy Adams in this picture as well. Granted, she's hardly in the film that much, but she definitely manages to convey her character quite well in the limited screen time she was given.
As far as Scarlett Johansson's voice work goes, she does an excellent job with it. To be honest, I didn't even know it was her until I looked it up, as she sounds more like Kristie Alley if anything else in this feature.
Overall, I doubt this film will appeal to most audiences, but it's definitely worth checking out if you're yearning to see something original. In the end, I'd have to give "Her" a three and a half out of four. Arguably one of the most unique love stories ever conceived.
Her: Love in the Modern Age
© 2014 Steven Escareno
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