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Monday, November 4, 2013

HER


by D.E.Levine

A NYFF51 Selection

In a dramatic change from the image of adversarial computers that we've become accustomed to in the movies, Her puts a totally different spin on things and gives the computer a romantic personna.

Spike Jonze directs a funny but profound look at society's relationship with technology and with each other.

A futuristic Los Angeles with stunning skyscrapers and good public transportation shows a "green" society with more of a Utopian existence where the major "illness" seems to be loneliness.

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) writes other peoples' love letters through an online company called BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com.  Depressed over a separation from his wife (Rooney Mara), Theodore simply cannot connect with people.  Even the actual writing of the letters is done by computer.

Then, rather accidentally, Theodore meets Samantha, the first A.1 operating system who has a voice (Scarlett Johanson), curiosity and attitude.  It doesn't even seem strange to the audience, because of our constant dependence on technology, when Theodore falls in love with Samantha.

However, as Theodore becomes more enthralled and dependent on Samantha, the operating system is developing its own feelings and desires --- especially the feeling that there's more out there for her and other operating systems than humanity.

Theodore's fascination with and "love" for Samantha stems from his loneliness and the ability to communicate at all times with Samantha.  But, like so many human relationships, Samantha doesn't return his feelings and wants something more.

This film is truly a fascinating and thought provoking commentary on society.