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Her: an absurd vision of the future

Film & TV

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For those familiar with Spike Jonze’s previous films Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, it comes as no surprise that his latest effort Her is a strange creature.

Set in Los Angeles in the near future, Her follows a lonely man, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), who makes a living writing touching, personal letters for other people. He is depressed, mourning his marriage, and he has few friends, so when a new operating system enters his life sparks begin to fly.

Yes, you read that correctly: Theodore falls in love with the insightful, sensitive and funny voice “Samantha”, with whom he can discuss anything and who understands him like no one else. Scarlett Johansson does an amazing job portraying the voice of the operating system.

The film’s major flaw is that it is far too long, with too many twists and turns. But the concept is compelling and many of the scenes where people are walking around talking to themselves with earpieces and handheld devices were not far removed from how our streets appear today. Jonze seems to be asking: Is that really how we want to live our lives?

When Theodore tells people he is dating an operating system, there is initial resistance, but it doesn’t take long for others to warm to Samantha, who is obviously more intelligent than any of them. It’s a both absurd and fascinating insight into what the world might be like a generation from now.

Her is an unexpectedly funny and at times awkward as well as tender love story. It certainly isn’t a film for everyone, but it will no doubt find a keen audience among computer geeks and Spike Jonze fans.

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