HER- A Story Of The Near Future?




HER, a science fiction/dystopian future romantic comedy drama (yes, it really is all of those things and more) film written and directed by Spike Jonze (what a cool name) stars the handsome Joaquin Phoenix as a man who develops a romantic relationship with a computer operating system.

I really didn’t know what to expect with this film, if anything it almost sounded like a futuristic Lars and The Real Girl  where the gorgeous Ryan Gosling plays a lonely delusional man who falls in love with a sex doll, believing she is real. And in a way, Her did share some similarities with this film, yet despite sharing the universal themes commonly used in films like loneliness and introvert characters with a life or a job they no longer find enjoyable, Jonze managed to create something highly innovative, different and overall I gotta say, really damn beautiful.

So what happens? Well, in the fewest words I can manage, Theodore (Joaquin) is a lonely introverted man who writes personal love letters for people who, I assume, clearly have some difficulty expressing their feelings. Unhappy and uncontent due to his upcoming divorce with his childhood love, Catherine (Rooney Mara), he purchases an operating system with some kind of artificial intelligence that has a personality and can adapt and evolve like a human being. Voiced by Scarlett Johansson, Samantha and Theodore bond over their discussions and begin a relationship.

For me, Her came across as very touching and realistic. There wasn’t really any point where I thought that the idea someone could fall in love with an operating system was implausible or at all something that would never happen in the future. In fact, I almost felt like this film gave a glimpse into the near future. We already have systems like Siri, (don’t lie, we’ve all said ‘I love you’ to see what she’d reply) and online/long distance relationships don’t seem much different to Theodore’s relationship with Samantha. I also remember watching a documentary not too long ago about the rise in ‘Virtual girlfriends’ in Japan, where men (and women) are no longer procreating or even dating because they can now have the best of both worlds with a game on their Nintendo DS.


So like I said, although Her may be set in the future, when you get down to it, it doesn’t feel that futuristic at all. It got me thinking about technology, it seems the more we create increasingly intelligent technology, the more we have the option to go online and connect to people anywhere in the world in the comfort of our own home, this theme and emotion of loneliness and isolation seems to grow and affect more people all over the world, just as the technology and the power of the internet does.

The ending of Her for me was definitely the best part of the film. Even though I am a self confessed ‘crier’ at most movies, I didn’t really expect to cry for this film, so when tears trickled down my face at the ending, I was surprised at how touching the film turned out to be.

Now, onto a little obsession of mine, the colour palette. Don’t ask why, it’s something I really can’t help but focus on in films, everything from the setting, costumes and overall colour tone of the film, I just love it. So what was it like and why do I care about it?

Well for starters, it just looked really beautiful, for lack of a better word. Calm, soft, quiet…but also, lonely in a way. Maybe even melancholic. Pastel pinks, creamy browns and gentle purples, none too obvious, instead placed simply for the purpose of complementing each other. The Hollywood favorite blue and orange featured often, but this time subtle and natural, my favorite being a particular scene at the beach where the blue water and the orange sand and sky made me feel warm and yet a longing to be there myself.


It was as if everything was inspired by colours on a beautiful morning where the sun hasn’t quite risen completely yet, or even a summer evening where the sky is still lingering on to it’s last touch of light. In one article from www.randomhouse.ca, they wrote that the film looks like “it was shot under a bed sheet and lit with nothing more than the idle glow of Sunday afternoon,”  and it really does. Whimsical and drawing on more elements from the past rather than what I imagine the future to look like, the colours don’t scream ‘Dystopian future’ but instead seem to reflect the emotions the characters experienced in the film, emotions that we can all relate to. I feel like Jonze did a complete 360 on the typical style usually set by these dystopian future films, and it really worked in his favor.


“Retro-futuristic” is a word I’ve seen being used to describe this film, the colours, the round tortoiseshell glasses, the high waisted trousers. Furthering my point that perhaps Jonze intended all of this as a message to say, this future is probably closer than we think, (perhaps it’s already here now for the Japanese) especially with everyone’s obsession with looking ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ now bigger than ever before.


Overall, Her left a lasting impression on me. As soon as I had watched it and wiped the tears from my face, I researched the colours, the outfits, the style and the director for more. It was one of those rare films where after it’s finished you sit for a moment, dwelling on what just happened, incapable of moving on with your day, feeling like lifetimes have passed before you rather than a few hours. Her was funny, (“strangle me with the dead cat!”), interesting, different and moving, leaving you with a certain hopeful loneliness that no matter how lonely you get, you’ll never truly be alone.




PS- you can by this gorgeous DVD here!


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