One man, one operating system

One man, one operating system


English (A) ****

Director: Spike Jonze

Cast: Joaquin Pheonix, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara

Valentine’s day is not just a day for lovers. It is a day when single people are sometimes particularly aware of how lonely they are, desperately trying to justify their solitude.

Her, a movie directed by Spike Jonze – who we know from Being John Malkovich, is a movie about a man battling the complexities of divorce. Theodore (Joaquin Pheonix) is a single man trying to get over his former wife Catherine (Rooney Mara).

Catherine was Theodore’s childhood friend; someone he grew up with and influenced his adult personality greatly. Being separated from her is confusing for him, and the only solace he finds is in his operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). 

Samantha is extremely intuitive and seemingly human as you or I. Besides the inability to occupy a physical form, Samantha tends to almost all of Theodore’s needs and even helps him progress further as a writer. 

Smarter than the human mind, Samantha is close to winning Theodore’s heart, which is taboo in a world that is dominated by humans. Her is a depiction of Theodore’s dilemma between conforming with society in having a worldly relationship or following his heart into a life with someone who does not possess a physical form.

Spike Jonze has made his debut as a screenplay writer with the film Her, which is oddly reminiscent of Lars and the Real Girl from 2007, and is yet characteristically different. The two movies are comparable in that if you didn’t like Lars and the Real Girl it is doubtful that this movie will accord to your taste.

It is generally challenging to feel empathetic toward human surrogates, but Spike Jonze has managed to break a barrier with his script that could make even the toughest of people feel warm inside by imparting the idea of judgement-free love for another species, or even a kind of technology.

  Jonze puts a viewer through feeling torn between disgust and understanding with this movie. Besides Her, directing Adaptation to Where The Wild Things Are makes Jonze seem like a filmmaker that holds much promise.

 Unconventional relationships are known to be harshly judged when it deviates from stereotypical male and female ones; even to the point of it being dismissed as taboo. For a single person who is not elated by heightened levels of oxytocin or faithful to convention, Her can provide much hope. For lovers, perhaps, staying at home and watching The Notebook might be more romantic.

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