Thursday, 13 February 2014


Stories about people having relationships with technology are nothing new (I could tell you a few unprintable ones about teenage me and my 128K Spectrum +2); nor are stories about the blurring of lines between artificial intelligence and human emotions - look at such cultural milestones as Blade Runner, A.I. or D.A.R.Y.L. for proof. So the tale of a man in love with his computer's operating system is hardly going to be groundbreaking in a time when you're never more than six feet away from another Philip K Dick adaptation. Unless, of course, you put that tale in the hands of someone like Spike Jonze. As you might expect from a man who refuses to even spell his name conventionally, Jonze has gone and made a film about our relationship with tech which isn't about our relationship with tech at all. It's about our relationship with each other, and nothing less than the nature of love itself.

Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore: a divorced, lonely man who whose floppy drive is hardened by his new OS, which names itself Samantha and is voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Imagine a breathy, sexy, less murderous HAL from 2001 and you're kind of there. The concept appears, on the surface, to be a self-righteous snark at those of us who spend more time gazing at and fondling our phones rather than other people, but it soon transforms into something else entirely: a genuine, heartfelt love story, and one far more convincing than most of cinema's current romantic pish.
Look how fucking hot ScarJo is in this.

Effortlessly conveying the core problem with human interaction - that humans are confusing, complicated, terrifying fuckers - Her deftly renders the notion that someone might want to have it off with their PC completely non-ridiculous. Theodore and Samantha's affair is entirely convincing in context; after all, the concept of falling in love is bonkers enough - how much crazier can it be just because it's with a software package? The film even approaches the long-in-the-tooth question about whether an artificial intelligence is capable of genuine emotions with refreshing intimacy, honesty and tenderness.

But it's Jonze's smart, witty script's ability to make us look at ourselves and how we treat, respect, upset and deceive each other that's at the heart of his film. I don't want to get all Dear Deidre on your asses but Her might be the best film for couples to go and see to help them understand each other a bit better. Releasing it on Valentine's Day is a masterstroke; it's the perfect date movie to take either your partner or your iPad to.

It's a little overlong and won't win over detractors of a certain whimsical style of indie filmmaking of which Jonze is occasionally guilty, but Her is a clever, sweet, unpredictable and often surprisingly funny love story which could easily have come across as mean-spirited satire in less skilled hands. And, if nothing else, it's finally proved that there was nothing wrong with me that time I stuck my dick in the tape deck of my Spectrum +2.

1 comment :

  1. Tape deck? You mean azimuth hole lolriteguys? 20 long, hard years I've waited to pull a Spectrum +2 dick joke. TWENTY YEARS.