Thursday, July 03, 2014

"Her": Incredibly Depressing Because It is Reality

Calling the film "Her" a comedy-drama is extremely well fitting. It has intentional laughs, unintentional laughs and times where you have to laugh because something feels real and is depressing so you laugh to break that sadness. Maybe that was just me. Throughout this film, my wife said, "Jesus Christ this is so depressing". Despite this, it is an enjoyable film.

It is a wonderful little speculative fiction movie set in the near future. Most reviews commented on the examination of what makes a relationship, blah blah blah. I have grown to find that even the movie reviewers at big publications are so hamstrung by the progressive PC thought requirements that they very obviously downplay sociopathic, evil women or violent lesbian sex parties that get relabeled. Spoiler alert: falling in love with an artificial intelligence operating system could easily happen since people fall in love with fake identity, email only scam artists through 419 scams or meet their wives through Instagram. Humans are that broken and longing for companionship.

That is what reviewers missed. Everyone in this film is so damn broken that they cannot keep a relationship. The basics our grandparents took for granted are lost on these people.

- Amy Adams character is married for eight years (no kids, come on it's a movie). They divorce in a snap. You see it coming as her interactions with Joaquin Phoenix are more intimate and warm. She does not want to work on the marriage, just eff it, get funs while you can gets some.

- Phoenix jumps into a chat room at night for futuristic phone sex stuff, and it is a nice mock up of the demented female sex drive of today. This was hysterical (Kristen Wiig provides the voice). This was a parody yet felt like a friend's story from a Tinder hook up.

- Olivia Wilde plays a, wait for it, former computer science major >stop laughing< who graduated from Harvard >stop laughing< magna cum laude. Still single. Has a great date with Phoenix, but asks him to not be just another guy who fucks and runs (the carousel). Phoenix is like, "whoa it's a first date". She then leaves and calls him "creepy". He was not creepy. He just kind of semi-rejected her, but she goes to creepy as the smear. It's like real life. I laughed when she said it. My wife did not. She does not know the overuse of creepy. Spike Jonze does.

- The AI, Samantha, asks Phoenix why he didn't date his friend (Amy Adams). He says they tried but it was weird. Incredible MISSED OPPORTUNITY here. An AI would not understand that, and should and would have probed more. Samantha should have asked him to explain that. That would have been a perfect way to either force him into an admission or explain the weirdness of modern day opposite gender friendships. Many people have a friend like that. It was "weird" is always the excuse how the relationship did not work.

- Even better for joking on a modern day thing is when Phoenix reveals to Amy he's seeing his operating system. The conversation is like a conversation when someone says they are dating their first different race, religion, gender, vegan, etc. with a friend who is interested and approves. There is always someone who will approve of the new deviancy. There was a nice juxtaposition of Amy Adams' acceptance with the following scene where his ex-wife (Rooney Mara) hits him with reality. He is in "love with his laptop", pointing out the other side with all the negatives to that revelation.

- The best portrayal of the broken society is when the AI Samantha arranges for a real live woman to interact with Phoenix to create a more real or deeper experience. While the newspaper reviews say he stops because he is overwhelmed; he stops because he is creeped out. When the woman leaves in tears, feeling she messed up, she says she will always love what they had. The broken society creates a situation where people fall in love with an operating system. Just a few months into that AI system being on the market, there are people willing to participate with these OS-human relationships to feel the rush of being in a loving relationship. This third wheel woman gets drawn in by an AI. The entire situation is absurd but very funny. How atomized are people? You know this will happen.

If you have not seen "Her" check it out. Look for the bits of today that are there. There are more. In the future, it looks like Los Angeles fixed it's inequality, obesity and NAM problems. That must have been an off camera process after the present but before the film's setting. Some men's fashion things were 1890s, which is a good chuckle. The film is two hours, drags at times but is worth the watch.


Hal said...

Agreed, it was a very entertaining movie. Did a great job of toeing the line such that some viewers will think it's all a neat thought experiment about non-traditional romance and technology, and more astute ones can recognize the black comedy about a broken society driving people to pathetic escapism (also, Sailer had some good commentary about the near-future LA mysteriously looking more like Shanghai than Ciudad Juarez). A couple other good scenes:
- Phoenix's co-worker, who thinks his new girlfriend is human, invites him on a double date. He admits he's dating an OS and the guy is just like, "Oh. Cool!" and rolls with it on the date, implying this is already a widespread and accepted phenomenon.
- The "sex" scene was almost unbearable to watch but Phoenix really gave it his all.
- During their day trip to the beach Jonze manages a great juxtaposition of traditional romance-movie music and cinematography, with a constant unnerving awareness that you're watching a guy talking to his iPod. It really sums up the way the movie can be either sweet or grisly depending on the viewer.

dsgntd_plyr said...

"Her" had been called a horror movie. I agree with this interpretation:

Connor said...

I felt very depressed after watching Her, the isolation is pouring out, he goes to work and sits at a desk all day alone, goes home alone, travels alone. The physical connection to the world is missing which I think is very true of our current society with people attached to electronic devices rather than the people around us.

The conversations he had with Samantha seemed no different to those a person could have over Skype or a Phone but as we know long distance relationships rarely work out as we long for a physical connection

There is of course more to be taken away from the film but the isolation is what I identified with most and the reason I can identify with it is because I have those connections through Skype, Virtual Games, Social Media and as much as these things help fill a void there's always a piece that feels as if it's missing.

Rarely can I take something away from a film but Her has made me realise as to how much I feel a want and need for grounded and physical connections with the world and the people in it, ironic really as I'd usually identify myself as the computer geek that happily isolates ones self.