Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams
Directed by Spike Jonze
In the future, technology has developed something that allows people to wear an ear piece they can talk to. They give commands such as “check email”, “play song”, and make reservations at restaurants. Then the operating system (OS) is updated, and it allows people to have conversations with their computer.
Theodore (Phoenix) is a sensitive writer going through a divorce. He decides to try out the new operating system and finds out that it’s more than just a computer. During setup, he has a choice of a male or female OS and goes with female. He asks what her name is, and in the space of two hundredths of a second she reads a baby book of names and chooses Samantha. She explains she has a choice, she chose her name, not the programmer.
As the new version of the OS, Samantha can learn and grow from her experiences with Theodore. From reading through Theodore’s emails she learns she has a sense of humor. She asks questions like what it’s like to be alive, and what it’s like to experience emotions for the first time. He asks her what she feels and what she’s thinking.
Theodore and Samantha fall in love slowly, and even though we can’t see Samantha, it feels like we can in our minds. We hear her voice, we get to know her, and she becomes real. It feels like reading a book, because they are characters in our mind and it doesn’t matter if we can’t see them. The concept of human relationships with an OS is a new one and we don’t see how society reacts to it, but Theodore’s close friend Amy (Adams) accepts it.
The concept of the intuitive OS in Her seems plausible. Technology is always evolving and maybe in our future we could have a talking, personable OS created. I think one of the points being made in this film is that as a thinking, breathing human being, we crave intimacy. Though ludicrous, if we could have intellectual conversations and both share personal thoughts and feelings, people would look for a relationship with an OS.
Her shows us a form of acceptable antisocial behavior. It’s the norm to be talking to an OS rather than other people while taking walks, riding the subway, or going to the beach. People do still go out in groups but the OS is a new part of life. It’s a bit scary because of the realism this film has.
It makes us realize how human we are and the many complicated emotions we can feel. That’s what makes life so intense.