Are you willing to broaden your mind?

Synopsis: Theodore Twombly, is a writer who is in the process of divorcing his wife. In a moment of loneliness, he buys an operating system with artificial intelligence, Samantha. Soon, he develops a relationship with her; the perfect woman to meet his every need.

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara.

Her theodore

From the opening credits soundtrack, I felt a little apprehensive. The creepy robotic music wasn’t comfortable to listen to but that symbolises the point of the film: from the strangest thing ever, to the most humane of emotions.

In a world of fast growing technology, he happens across an OS system, Samantha. There are many questions and concepts that have to be accepted when watching this film. It is not for the narrow-minded. Sure, it is strange to see a grown man having an actual relationship with a computer. But here’s the question, was she not real? Samantha, voiced beautifully by Scarlett Johansson, is the product of several human consciousnesses put together. So she thinks like a human…but what does it mean to be “human”? Our species have a basic form- arms, legs, torso, head- and we know that is human. But there are people in this world that do horrific things that are what we would call “inhumane”. But they look human; just don’t think, feel or act like one. So, clearly, from a socially-accepted viewpoint, human conciousness is what defines us. And yet…Samantha is missing the typical mould of a person. And that scares us. But even the soundtracks became less robotic and more musical as the film went on, suggesting Samantha’s humanization.

I positively adored how they used the eyes of a computer to help the audience marvel at the beauty of our world. I bet if a baby could articulate perfect speech, they would say a lot of what Samantha said.  If they used a person, it would be like, “he’s on drugs” but using something that doesn’t have a body helps us truly realise what it is missing out on- and what we should be grateful for. The one element that Samantha wished she could do over and over again, was touch. Such an important sense. There have been studies showing that babies who were cuddled more often, were shown to have healthier immune systems and less likely to develop depression in adulthood. Need more reason to appreciate what we have?

I was intrigued to observe Catherine, Rooney Mara, tell Theodore that he was hiding away her samantha from having to deal with the challenges of a real relationship and as the movie went on, it became clear that this was what many people were shying away from. Everyone was seen with an operating system , hardly glancing at where they even put their foot down let alone have an actual conversation with another being. And yet, in the end, even the OS’s blossomed a need for collaboration with others and ran off with their own kind. The need for collaboration, so human! And yet, at that moment, it seemed that people were less in touch with who they were than a bunch of computers. It would be disappointing to catch this occurring in our race, but we see it happening now: people using TV or the internet as an excuse not to go out and meet people. How are we ever supposed to evolve if we don’t challenge ourselves to things that frighten us the most?

There was one moment in Her that completely took me by surprise: when Samantha asks Theodore whether she’s been programmed to feel this way. It really got me thinking; aren’t we programmed to feel certain things in certain situations? Or do we do it instinctively? For e.g. if we didn’t think being overweight was “unacceptable”, would we be insecure in public? Or if we didn’t know we were supposed love, would we still? Is it instinct or have we been fixed by society-norms? And if it is inherent, has that intuition been programmed within us? I’m going all crazy here with the philosophy 😀

Most of the film is kind of dissociate, but I enjoyed the moment when the OS tells Twombly that she s “finding herself in the infinite spaces between the words in a book”. As if to say, we discover ourselves between moments of pain, anger, tenderness, confusion…every moment is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. The book she refers to is obviously a representation of our story; our life. There is a lot of reference to writing as well; Theodore is a letter writer, constantly writing emails to one another, referring to your past as “a story we just tell ourselves”…just a little thought. Let me know what you guys think about it!

The plot is basically the synopsis. Nothing much happens in terms of a storyline and there her theodoreis a- somewhat- happily ever after. But for some reason, the ending was not satisfying to me. It just seemed so fleeting and where would the operating systems go? Is there some cyberspace that I am not aware of? For a person not looking for depth, the movie could even be considered depressing. However, the soundtracks as symbolism were excellent and Scarlett Johansson’s voice fits perfectly. There was also a cool bit of cinematography where, Theodore is sitting on the steps, after having a scare whether Samantha left, and the people going up and down the stairs in the background are noticeably going faster or slower depending on the intensity of his emotions.

Ultimately, a very philosophical movie. With my review, I have barely scratched the surface of the depth but you get the gist of it. If you’re looking for an eye-opener, this movie is for you, if not, maybe some other time. It is interesting to see this film and Gravity nominated for the Oscars; both seem like they don’t have much going on but there is a lot more than meets the eye.

Note: Just to be clear, this doesn’t necessarily mean I support having a relationship with technology…just open-minded enough to speculate about the theme behind it.

Verdict: 8 of 10 kicks

Check out the Oscar nominees here!

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