See It, Rent It, Or Skip It: ‘Her’
(CBS Radio) — Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed too good to be true, and inevitably it ended abruptly?
Being in a relationship and finding the right balance within said relationship can be difficult for anyone, but what about when a relationship consists of one man and one operating system?
At a time when our virtual lives have seemingly become hopelessly intertwined with our actual lives, it’s quite plausible that one day people could have intimate relationships with their operating systems.
And, perhaps Spike Jonze was onto something quite genius when he wrote and directed Her.
Now, where should I begin? For me, Her was one of those movies that was both thought-provoking and heartfelt — it isn’t a movie that can just be watched, but rather it must also be felt.
There are so many aspects of this movie worth exploring, minus how high the men in this movie wore their pants (yes, I had a hard time getting past that.)
If I had to pick one word that best describes this movie, I would say it was bittersweet.
The main character in the movie, Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely writer who writes compelling, personalized cards for other people. Like many other writers, Theodore is great with words on paper, but he finds it nearly impossible to communicate effectively with people when he is not writing.
Being tormented by words, or rather a lack of words when trying to communicate verbally, definitely magnifies Theodore’s loneliness and contributes to his intentional isolation from the rest of the world.
Past his issues with communication, Theodore is also emotionally wounded from an impending divorce. In many ways, Samantha (the operating system, played by Scarlett Johansson) enters his life at a time when Theodore desperately needed Her to.
But no matter how much he needed her to fill a void in his life, I couldn’t get past the feeling that Samantha would eventually evolve and leave Theodore behind. Furthermore, subconsciously, he was aware of this too, and even though Samantha made him happy … there was a sense of sadness that surrounded their entire relationship, and Theodore never could quite shake it off.
Nevertheless, Samantha filled a need — which happens in every relationship, despite whether the relationship progresses or not. The problem with this particular relationship (besides the fact that Samantha is an operating system,) was that the relationship was completely one-sided. It was based on Theodore’s needs. He viewed Samantha as someone who was always there for him — whenever he needed her. What Theodore couldn’t grasp, was that he needed to be there for her too … and for the most part, he wasn’t.
But as their relationship progresses, they both struggle with the things their relationship lacks, such as not being able to feel each other’s warmth, or experience things that two people of form could experience together. In a sense, a lot of their struggles could be compared to a long-distance relationship — and anyone who has ever endured a long-distance relationship knows all too painfully the obstacles that almost always tears the couple apart.
Past that, because Theodore views his relationship with Samantha from a one-sided perspective of how the relationship solely benefits him, he does not know how to feel or how to respond the moment that Samantha expresses needs of her own.
In a sense, it was liberating to see Samantha come into her own and have her own desires and wants. It was also heartbreaking once I realized that Theodore wasn’t going to be able to fill the void that Samantha had. And in the end, all relationships that are imbalanced, as this relationship was (no matter the circumstances,) will not last.
While it is important for people to keep their sense of individualism intact in a relationship, relationships by definition cannot survive without a strong emphasis being placed on the relationship as a whole, and not how certain things affect the individual in the relationship.
There were so many very real and raw aspects throughout this entire movie — even though the relationship itself was equally real as it was not real, which happened simultaneously. The premise of the movie points to the realization that anything that is not real has a short shelf-life. In other words, it cannot possibly exist for an extended period of time.
On the other hand, I was perturbed by how accepting people in the movie were of Theodore dating his operating system. Because in real life, society is not very accepting of anything that is viewed as different — and in real life (which is usually not like the movies,) people always attack what they fail to understand.
Personally, I embrace differences and always root for the underdog, the oppressed, and those who are fighting for equal rights, such as the gay population. But, I felt that the battle of gaining acceptance was not clearly depicted. In my opinion, it was a necessary part of the movie — one that was definitely lacking.
No matter what feelings or emotions Her evokes for you, in the end I guess we can take solace in knowing that the relationship between Theodore and Samantha served a purpose — just as all relationships do, regardless of if they last or not. And in the end, that’s all that matters.
-QC Writer, CBS Radio
Best quotes from the movie:
“Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”
“The past is just a story we tell ourselves.”
“Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s like a socially acceptable form of insanity.”
“It’s hard to explain, but if you get there, come find me. Nothing will be able to tear us apart then.”
“It’s how we spend a third of our lives asleep, and maybe that’s the time when we feel the most free.”
A special thank you to Regal Theaters for providing us with the opportunity to review this movie.
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