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.