"The heart is not a box, it continues to grow the more it loves"
Her – a postmodern love story about a man who falls in love…with his operating system.
Orange Wednesday is the perfect excuse for a mid-week date night. Pair that with one of the most awesome cinemas in Liverpool, The Fact, throw in a passion fruit cider and some lemon and poppy seed popcorn and BOOM…date night is complete.
Her came out on February 14th and I’ve been counting down to see it ever since (ok…so I didn’t have to wait too long but that’s a rare thing!). The film itself is set in the not too distant future where everyone is walking around in high-waisted trousers and staring at their hand-held devices with tiny little smiles on their faces. Everything looks so soft, like that moment on a Sunday afternoon just before sundown, it’s utterly utopian…on the outside.
Enter Theodore, a soulful, quirky guy who makes a living writing heartfelt letters on behalf of lazier, less poetic folk. He has a gift for reading between the lines on people’s faces and telling the story they didn’t know they had in them. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t take my eyes off the glasses/moustache combo that looked like something you pick up in a joke shop, but looking past that, there’s a pretty genuine guy whose had his heart broken in the past and can’t accept it. He just wants to love and be loved in return – don’t we all? The whole premise of the film is connection, how we connect to one another and the world around us. Suddenly its synopsis of ‘man falls in love with operating system’ seems a whole lot more complicated!
Theodore upgrades his operating system to OS1, an artificially intelligent operating system that grows to suit your needs by learning more about you and your world the more you use it. OS1 names herself Samantha and starts to change Theodore’s life from the get go! Theodore is going through a divorce and has become pretty introverted. Samantha becomes the guiding light in his life that pulls him out of himself, puts him back into the world and makes him realise dreams he never knew he had.
"I think anybody who falls in love is a freak. It's a crazy thing to do. It's kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity"
Theodore and Samantha go beyond user/computer and they enter into an intimate relationship with one another. Though this sounded like a little ‘geek freak’ from the synopsis, it was anything but! Their relationship was so honest and sweet, as an audience we come to sympathises with both characters, Samantha becomes as real to us as she is to Theodore.
"I think I have felt everything I'm ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I'm not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I've already felt"
What I love about this film is that they have taken the concept of digital relationships and showed how they will ultimately evolve. People fall in love online everyday with people they’ve never met, and like Theodore, we never see Samantha. She doesn’t exist in the physical world, she’s and artificially intelligent consciousness…and haven’t we seen that before? It reminded me so much of Bicentennial Man when Samantha started talking about her lack of body, her lack of being human. For me, she’s probably the most human AI there’s been in film! Her non-physical form never matters to Theodore and it never matters to us either – the relationship itself is so believable and so powerful that the idea of a man having an out in the open relationship with an operating system is considered practically ‘normal’.
As love stories go, Her is high up on my list of all time favourites. It manages to create a solid, believable relationship that somehow dodges all the clichés, even the cyber sex becomes more touching than ‘weird’. I really thought this film was only going to go one of two ways – really cheesy, or really tragic. Somehow, it managed to avoid both of these outcomes – well done Spike Jonze! The ending was so beautiful and just, I couldn’t argue with it!
This film really highlights the concept of connection and intimacy and it challenges us as to what we understand about being intimate with someone. Is intimacy purely a physical act or is it something more? Can we be intimate with someone on a none-tactile level? It also begs the question, can we really love another if we don’t truly love ourselves? The film has such a beautiful message and breaks down so many Hollywood romance clichés it’s a breath of fresh air. I also love how it portrays a more accepting society – I mean who can imagine a society where a man falls in love with his operating system and doesn’t end up on the Jeremy Kyle show? The society here is more curious than critical about Theodore’s and Samantha’s relationship – oh how we wish the real world was more like that!
So get yourself down to your local cinema, get yourself a ticket and don’t forget the Kleenex!
Have you seen Her yet? Thoughts?
Until next time,