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Movie Quote Monday – her

Her is a love story.

It’s about a lonely man, Theodore, who falls in love with his computer operating system, Samantha. Just to be clear, he isn’t simply infatuated with the voice of his smartphone. Samantha is not just an OS, she’s a learning, evolving artificial intelligence, a consciousness. She is her own person, she just isn’t human.

Samantha comes into Theodore’s life a year into his separation, when he knows he needs to sign the divorce papers, but still isn’t ready to let go. She breaths new life into Theodore just by the nature of her own newness. She tells him, “I want to learn everything about everything, I want to discover myself,” and he’s swept up in her enthusiasm and in experiencing the world through her fresh eyes. She’s excited about living, and he’s excited to be with someone who is excited about living.

That feeling of renewal we get when we embark on a new relationship is only one of the topics in this movie that I could explore. I love a movie with many layers, that makes me think, especially about my own life and how I’m living it. Can we discover new things about ourselves well into adulthood? Do we need a body to be considered a “real” person and have relationships with others? Are our emotions real? Can we learn from the mistakes of past relationships and move forward? Can a relationship survive when one person is going places the other can’t follow? The advertising for these artificially intelligent operating systems asks: “Who are you? What can you be? Where are you going? What are the possiblities?” These are all threads that weave themselves through the film.

Her asks lots of questions, but in the end it’s a love story.

Love can open us up and expand our souls and take us places we never even dreamed existed. And it can chew us up and crunch our bones in its teeth. You can say we do these things to each other, and that’s true. But without love, the pain and joy we feel wouldn’t reach such depths and heights in the first place.

All relationships are complicated. All relationships have their difficulties. Some will thrive and prosper, and some will shrivel and die. This movie is the study of one relationship. Will it work or not? It’s a movie about how wonderful and scary and frustrating and complicated and exhilarating love can be. Falling in love, the possibilities of love.

So, my favorite line:

Theodore: “Will you come with me?”

He asks this of his friend Amy, and she doesn’t ask where, or why, or do I need a jacket. She just nods her head and follows him out the door.

That’s the only thing we absolutely know we can control, is our willingness to open ourselves up to the possibilities of love or friendship. To be vulnerable enough, daring enough, hopeful enough to ask that question. Will you come with me?

And when someone asks us, to be vulnerable enough, daring enough, hopeful enough to go.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. I plan to see this film. Do you feel hopeful or depressed after watching it? It seemed sort of sad from the previews.

    January 27, 2014
    • I felt good and hopeful. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it reminds me of Lars and the Real Girl ending. That ends at a funeral, which sounds bleak. But you feel so great and even excited about where the futures of the characters are going. This ending is much quieter, much more the tone of a love story ending, but hopeful and I felt ok with it. For me, a lot of this movie is about people growing, Theodore, Samantha and Amy. I liked the first trailer better (of no. 1 and no 2 “official trailers”), it’s more upbeat.

      There are some phone sex scenes, and f-bombs, so fair warning if you’d be uncomfortable seeing with the kids or whoever. 🙂

      January 27, 2014
      • I can handle it and my kids are in their twenties, but thanks for the heads up!!!

        January 27, 2014
        • Haha, ok! I’m 44 and no way would I want to see someone have phone sex while sitting next to my dad, lol. But I’m still daddy’s little sheltered girl. 😉

          January 27, 2014
  2. Boots,

    I reviewed the movie for a cyber friend – we have touched on the subject of artificiality and the way our ego can override authentic understanding for each other. This film seems to stir a lot of reactions.

    Here’s my take:

    I saw “Her” last night with my friend who was kinda creeped out. Naturally, I enjoyed what I considered a disturbing, but wonderful story. I think the basic difference between my friend and I was that she couldn’t get past the artificiality of the computer Joaqin Pheonix falls in love with. I accepted the premise that the technology that exists in the very near future was producing computers with such a high degree of intelligence that they could develop consciousness. On the other hand the rift between imaginary “ego based” love and really seeing, touching and compounding a love with a woman who is truly presenting herself as an individual was remarkable. There was also a wonderful contrast for a woman poorly connected to her individual . . . The potential for disaster here seemed far more dangerous than the pitfalls for imagining a romance with circuitry that expands into consciousness.

    Now to answer a few of your questions:

    – enjoy love where you can find it . . . a smile from a pedestrian or a kid who has not yet been veiled by circumstance. This way Love becomes more palpable and you begin naturally opening yourself . . . not only to receiving, but giving. Humanity has an interest in this stuff.

    – we regularly have layered lives where we operate one way at work, one way among our same sex friends, one way among our families and one way with strangers . . . the differences may be subtle. The way we operate online or behind closed doors can be quite different than our other spheres of operation. Basically we already have some degree of artificiality (or variability) kneaded into our personalities and it seems our spirit likes the elbow room.

    – yes, cyber friendships are real. To me online you are “Boots” but I have also met you for an afternoon in “real” life so I also sense Michelle. The Michelle you presented to me seems wonderfully authentic, but like anyone you hold some of yourself in reserve. In person you have an immediate presence which is lovely and operates within the boundaries of your life. Online you relax these boundaries and it seems you become more cerebral, more seeking, more open than how your everyday life operates. I love what my ego lays over you, but I really like peeking under my perceptions at YOU . . . as much as I can sense at your softer boundaries . . . Knowing a little of your IN person provides me with some contrast and reference. I like to imagine people a little beyond themselves – in a good way. When people discuss the power of the Internet, this is where I see a lot of potential.


    January 27, 2014
    • Yeah, I definitely think you have to be able to suspend your disbelief in order to get past the artificial intelligence part. As you know, falling into a movie is not hard for me to do, haha. Now if it had been a guy in love with the voice of just his regular computer, then I would have found it to be icky too. But for me it was just a regular love story. Her lack of a body and immortality and endless potential for speed and knowledge were just the particular obstacles facing this particular couple. But any two people – or family or co-workers or group of friends – is going to have obstacles to overcome that are specific to that couple or group’s situation and personalities.

      I was working on the other post on my phone and hit the wrong button, so that’s why that one posted to email and then disappeared. But it will be back on Friday. But thanks for the answers! In short, I agree, haha. We had a discussion on here a few years ago about the different selves we present to different people, and in different situations, and whether that makes us liars or if any of those sides of ourselves are fake or false. But I agree with you, that there are just so many layers of self. Some of them we don’t even know that well ourselves, really.

      January 28, 2014
      • I know I may be on very thin ice here, but by gauging a single reaction from a colleague about the film and how my friend felt about the story . . . I am pondering how the computer (who clearly emerges with a consciousness of her own) might be somewhat reverse-objectified by women who don’t get her. Not having a body kind of becomes a variation of not having the “right” body. I’m probably just weird . . . this will swirl around for a while – I kind of like that it may not settle completely.

        January 28, 2014
        • Hmm, that’s interesting. I know what you’re saying, but I’m having a hard time imagining that, I guess since I bought so easily into her being a real consciousness. Except for the phone sex part. That was a disconnect for me. I kept thinking there’s no way that she could imagine him touching her face or her skin, much less any of the rest of it. Programming a sense of touch into a computer would be like explaining blue to a person who was blind from birth, or the sound of my voice to a deaf person. How does one even begin to translate those types of sensory perceptions. That was one thing I couldn’t accept as even remotely possible (even though I understand in real life artificial intelligence – a real consciousness – will never be truly possible). But I’m off track here.

          Anyway, I’m not sure. I imagine for those who think it’s creepy, it would be more like falling in love with a duck or a calculator. It ain’t natural! Lol. But on the other hand, I struggled with the body thing a little – the fact that she was just a little box/phone thing bothered me. I could fall in love with a voice probably, but I don’t think I could maintain a relationship with someone I never saw, specifically having no face. It would have been better for me if she’d had a photo or some kind of picture attached to the box/phone. But yeah, I love a movie or story that keeps itself going way long after I’ve watched or read it. 🙂

          January 28, 2014
  3. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but It seems similar to Lars and the Real girl, which I loved. My son’s girlfriend wasn’t sure what she thought about it, only that it was a little depressing.

    January 29, 2014
    • It reminded me of Lars in a lot of ways, only this one is more r-rated (or whatever it is) due to language and phone sex. I didn’t find it depressing at all. He’s a troubled kind of guy like Lars, only a less emotionally disturbed. Theodore is confused and depressed. But he grows and changes through the movie and is in better headspace by the end.

      January 29, 2014

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