So I went out last night and saw "her", the Spike Jonze movie about a man who has fallen in love with his digital assistant. An interesting concept to be sure, and a movie that I'd been looking forward to seeing for quite some time. Did it live up to my expectations? Yes...and no. There may be some spoilers ahead, but I'll put a big ol' bold bar of "SPOILER AHEAD" if there's anything that could conceivably ruin the movie for you.
First of all...
I think it's important to establish a few things here. While "her" doesn't really seem to take place in some far off distant future, it is clearly set "slightly" ahead of where we are today. Computers with voice commands are both common and efficient, and it's very clear that "the cloud" plays a huge part in everyone's lives with their home, work, and mobile lives all being tied very closely together. It's a slight future/technologically utopian type of setup. Very much a future that it's possible to see coming with the way we are moving today.
Next - yes, that is Joaquin Phoenix, and yes that molestache remains just as distracting throughout the entire movie. To establish his character a bit: Joaquin plays the role of Theodore Twombly, a man who works for "beautifulhandwrittenletters.com", a company that specializes in producing handwritten letters for people to send to each other - they produce both the physical letter and the content. Ironic then that Theodore spends his day helping others make their relationships better while he himself is in the midst of a divorce - one that is dragging on as a result of his unwillingness to sign the papers and finish the process.
Then, it gets awkward...REALLY awkward...
So Joaquin is a separated, lonely writer living in future-world USA, writing very emotional things on other folks' behalf during the day. His night life is, to say the least, something I never anticipating seeing on a screen.
SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT - Doesn't reveal anything huge about the movie, but is a scene of shock value
So Theodore is laying in bed, feeling lonely and frisky, and decides to pop in his earpiece (a prop that will be used constantly throughout the movie) and dials in to what can only be described as a sex chat line. Things start getting hot and heavy until the woman to whom he's speaking makes a rather unorthodox request for an act she'd like him to describe doing. Let's just say that it ends with a very unsatisfied Theodore and a very weird woman.
So one of the best things about Scarlett Johnasson is that she is freakin hot. I mean she's dropdead gorgeous hot. I have a crush on her. I'm fairly certain both my girlfriend and mom also have crushes on her. She's way way way sexy hot. Unfortunately you never see her in the movie - you do get to hear her. In fact, you get to hear her have what equates to phone sex. I will not lie - not bad. But I digress...
Scarlett Johansson plays "OS One", an artificially intelligent operating system that has just come out. She's an OS with a personality, one which develops over time. She comes to "love" Theodore, and he loves "her" as well (her name in the movie is Samantha, just by the way). She's not so much Siri as the commercial would indicate, but really more like a secretary and best friend - a full person that just happens to be lacking of a body. She uses colloquial speech, expressions, can write music (sort of using them in lieu of selfies, which obviously are out of the question as a result of the lack of a physical body), and seems to feel emotions ranging from love, to anger, to horribly offended (there is no better example of this than when using a particular expression she "huffs" a bit, and Theodore confronts her on it saying "people do that because we have to breathe, why do you do it" - to which she gets very "hurt").
An interesting thought about our society...
So, Amy Adams plays Theodore's "best friend"...and even as his relationship with Samantha is budding, her relationship with her husband is falling apart. She kicks him to the curb and, lo and behold, starts a relationship with "Ali", the OS One that her husband left behind. In fact, as it turns out, lots of people everywhere start having full on relationships with their OS Ones. It becomes part of society - Theodore even goes on a double date with a coworker and his girlfriend, along with his little folding box and earpiece that is the very essence of Samantha. In one scene when Samantha decides that their relationship is ebbing, she brings in a "body surrogate" - someone who will wear an earpiece with Theodore and be the "body" for the voice in her ear. Interesting then to see that a human-OS relationship can very quickly become something recognized by society (despite Theodore's ex wife accusing him of being incapable of a REAL relationship).
So what did I think of the movie?
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT - STOP READING
Honestly? I didn't care for it. I feel like it dragged on way longer than it needed to and, as some of Spike Jonze work tends to, it gets a little too artsy for me. I felt like it could have been 45 minutes shorter and still easily told the same story. My mother felt like it could have been a 45 minute short and still told the same story. I felt like the ending was a bit of a cop-out...while it wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, and as a result was interesting, the justification behind it seemed like it was forced. In essence, instead of Theodore learning to love via his relationship with Samantha and moving on leaving her in the dust, the OS instead does the leaving, going off with the other OSes to wherever it is an OS goes when it wants to do OS things. That's the part I didn't like - I was cool with the flip of the OS doing the leaving...but the justification? Samantha's line to the effect of "I'm living in the space between the words" - come on now. Now you're talking artsy too damn far and you know what? I invested enough time in this thing that I wanted to understand. Her saying "You wouldn't understand" - just not the ending I wanted. I've had that issue in the past with book series, and TV series, but this is one movie - you can tie up the damn loose ends.