There’s Something About “Her”

By Anna Robertson

Film Society students reconvene after the premiere of "Her".
Film Society students reconvene after the premiere of “Her”.

Spike Jonze’s “Her” has caught the attention of film critics and movie-goers alike. On January 10, it hit local theatres and subsequently snagged “Best Screenplay” at the Golden Globe Awards on January 12. I, among other students of the George Ranch Film Society, decided to attend opening night to see if “Her” lived up to its hype.

If you’re unfamiliar with the film, “Her” is set some time in the future in Los Angeles where technology is an even more integral part of society than it is today. Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, decides to purchase an artificial intelligence operating system, a female voice that helps with everything from sorting computer files to engaging in philosophical discussion. As the movie progresses, Theodore and Samantha fall in love.

At first, empathizing with the star-crossed lovers proved difficult for obvious reasons. However, as the movie progressed, it became easier and easier to understand the relationship between Theodore and Samantha, in part due to Jonze’s killer screenplay.

“Throughout it you feel for him more and more. And you feel for her too a little bit even though she’s not a person,” Drew Wesley, co-founder of the Film Society said.

Though upon initial reaction the plot screams “sci-fi”, “Her” is so much more than that. In fact, given our society’s present reliance on phones, computers, televisions, and other technology, this film is only a short exaggeration of the present, and a possible prediction of the future. If that wasn’t enough, cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema went the extra mile to de-Sci-fi the film by attempting to eliminate the color blue, a color that is extremely prevalent in sci-fi movies.

The result is extraordinary. Rather than having the appearance of a dystopian future, something Jonze feared might occur, the future Los Angeles is stunning and realistic, warm and inviting. The heavy reliance on technology that its citizens have is the only reference to a dystopia, and even that can be debatable.

“I thought it was going to be super satirical like how people love their phones now,” Julia Nguyen, member of the film society, said.

Overall, “Her” raises some important questions about our society’s current relationship with technology. However, even more than that, it tells the age-old story of falling in love, heartbreak, and the importance of friendship.