Can a man fall in love with his computer? Spike Jonze, writer and director of the Golden Globe winning screenplay for Her, asks this question of his audience. Certainly a thought-provoking film, its plot forces us to ask ourselves how we define love.
This unusual movie, set in the near future, tells the story of lonely Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who works for a firm that writes personalized thank you cards and love letters for its costumers. A bit of a hermit after separating from his wife, the protagonist is quite reserved and lonely until he meets and falls in love with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Though this story of boy-meets-girl seems fairly average, Jonze supplies a major twist. Samantha is not a human woman, but is, in fact, an operating system.
Initially, this premise is slightly jarring, but the story continues to show that Theodore is not alone in his abnormal love story. In his world, it is not uncommon for a human to form a relationship with his or her OS, or even with someone else’s. Using the image of thousands of people infatuated with technology, it’s possible that Jonzes’s intention was to hold a mirror up to our society, demonstrating our own obsession with our technology.
Though the film reflects our world, it is in no way judgmental. The story is less about Theo and his OS than it is about the craziness of love. Her’s message is best captured with a line delivered by Theo’s longtime friend, Amy, (Amy Adams), who says, “Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.”
Even if its premise fails to capture you, Her is still a must see. With brilliant original music by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, and beautiful cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema, this very original film is a love story for the ages.
Written by Elliot Nick’14