20th April 2021
Her is a 2013 film written, directed and produced by Spike Jonze and stars recognisable actors such as Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johanssen, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde and Chris Pratt. It entails the story of a man who after a rough divorce with a childhood sweetheart, downloads an operating system and falls in love with it/her. Despite many great actors and an interesting concept, the film received widespread critical acclaim upon release and had grossed $48 million dollars on a budget of $23 million when I started watching the film. I thought I had made a huge mistake.
One thing that I wish I had known before watching the film with my parents were the very awkward and loud verbal sexual encounters or “phone sex” scenes that the film has. If anyone had been listening at our front door, they would have thought that our family collectively watches adult movies together. Another criticism of mine would be that when an actor was physically alone in a room and talking to an AI without a body and only a voice, I felt a certain awkwardness and discomfort due to my expected norm of seeing two actors physically together in the same room. However, upon completion of the film, I realised that that was the point.
The movie forces the viewer to think about many philosophical questions related to AI while they are watching this film. To be honest, it is quite an unsettling but interesting film about a possible not so far off future that will probably be reached in my lifetime in which AI are intelligent and sophisticated enough to form meaningful relationships with humans.
To conclude this is a great film that turns the concept of a love story on its head to ask philosophical questions about a future that is not too distant. However, I would recommend that when certain scenes come on, turn your volume down.