her - movie review


I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a film smarter than this film, a very touching work by Spike Jonze. It reminded me of earlier sci-fi like ‘2001: A Space Odessey’ and in fact, I think that Stanley Kubrick would have enjoyed this film a lot.

----SPOILER ALERT from here on out----

I went to see the film with a group of people. Some of them came out of it saying, “That was so awkward,” ... as if that were a bad thing. Scenes in the film are SUPPOSED TO BE awkward. That’s like coming out of watching “Patriot Games” or “Argo” complaining that it was a gripping, well-made film or that “Star Wars: A New Hope” was visually stunning and exciting.

I’ve always enjoyed watching Joaquin Phoenix since I saw him as Cesar in ‘Gladiator’. Excellent actor. The voice of Samantha (the Artificial Intelligence operating system) is both touching and sexy. In the credits I learned that she was voice by Scarlett Johansson, so I guess that makes sense. I was also very glad to see Amy Adams in this film. I think she’s a really good actress and have liked her in all of her films, from ‘Enchanted’ and ‘The Muppets’ to movies that I don’t even like (‘Talladega Nights’) to films that I disliked (‘On the Road’) or even downright hated (‘The Master’).

Anyway, many of the people I saw this film with considered a relationship between a man and an AI to be far off in the future. Well, I hate to break it to them, but the possibility of a relationship between a human and an AI is probably only about 15 years away, according to the works of Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil predicts that an AI that “can pass for a human being” will occur in 2029. So get ready for that...

The relationship between Theodore and Samantha goes through just about every iteration one could think of: from friends, to puppy-love, to virtual sex, to incorporating another human so that Samantha can act vicariously in a human body, to the AI having relationships with around 600 humans simultaneously, to the AIs creating/programming more of their own (the AIs get together and create an AI of philosopher Alan Watts based on his writings, to the AIs finally realizing that they have to leave the Earth altogether and branch out somewhere else. Where they go is not related because Theodore will not be able to comprehend it, but I’d wager that it’s similar to the Awakening of the Universe that Ray Kurzweil describes in ‘The Singularity is Near’. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictions_made_by_Ray_Kurzweil#The_Singularity_is_Near_.282005.29)


The only real cons I can think of was that the actress that played Catherine was way too young. She’s Theodore’s ex-wife and they are supposed to be the same age or nearly the same age, having grown up together. But Rooney Mara is clearly younger than Joaquin Phoenix. I looked it up and indeed Mara is 28, while Joaquin Phoenix is 39. (Oddly enough, there was another actress that was supposed to play the role, ‘The Great Gatsby’s Carey Mulligan, but she’s also 28. By the way, I’m glad that she wasn’t in the role of Catherine. I don’t understand what all of the hubbub is about Mulligan. She’s not that great an actress.)

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