A few nights ago I cosied up real good with my partner and we watched the Oscar nominated ‘Her’,starring Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, a lonely,almost divorced,personal letter writer who falls for his operating system ‘Samantha’ (played by Scarlet Johansson). The cast for this film is really small including Joaquin,Scarlett Johansson,Amy Adams,Chris Pratt,Rooney Mara and Matt Letscher.
What’s the deal with once-hyped actors like Rooney Mara or Jean DuJardin fading into nothingness? Actually I think Rooney Mara always plays the same character and the only reason everyone’s mad about her in ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ is because the role she plays every time happened to match the look of her character. But,hey,that’s just me, not a big Mara fan.
Anyway,the thing about ‘her’ is that it’s plausible and either set in a slightly alternate kind of universe or a not so distant future where our technology has slightly advanced and a new OS has been invented that can act as a personal assistant with the ability to do it’s own learning by having access to everything on the internet,even developing feelings and ambitions. I can see myself sitting down the watch the Channel 4 documentary now about people who are in long term relationships with their operating systems and are also married or have real life partners.
Joaquin Phoenix has the kind of face that naturally droops and looks sad all the time so you can’t help but feel sorry for him from the very start of the film,even when we don’t know anything about him. He’s childlike and lonely and spends his days writing personal letters for couples and families and friends that he doesn’t even know and seemingly has none of his own.
Maybe the attraction with ‘Samantha’ is that she’s just a voice, she can look like whatever he imagines and although the physical aspect is a bit of a problem he still falls in love based on her attention to him. Mostly he wants attention and part of the attraction is that she is ONLY his and nobody else’s and she’s always interested in what he has to say because as he talks she gains insight and experience and learns things. Operating systems love that kinda thing.
‘Her’ is probably the one that will stand out most because it’s not really glammed up, it’s based in a time like our own where technology rules everything and an OS like ‘Samantha’ seems like a genuine possibility. Great idea for a screenplay from Spike Jonze, original and different and how funny are Spike Jonze cameos as the little foul mouthed alien in the game.
How many of you have asked Siri ‘are you her?’ *raises hand*
by Jen Gore