Yes, I realize I'm woefully behind schedule on my movie reviews. If you're interested in something more current, Frisbee and I went to see Pawn Sacrifice tonight. My suggestion for that movie is to go in knowing more about chess than I do, because I spent the entire time thinking, "this is the one where you're supposed to make the other guy's King piece not be able to move? That's chess, right?"
But Now-hubby and I also sat down this evening to finish Her. We watched it in three installments over the past week. Mostly due to the fact that I had a terrific head cold for a few days and couldn't properly focus on a 2+ hour film and be taking as many anti-histamines as I was, so we had to break the movie into more manageable watching periods.
I have...a lot of thoughts about Her.
The main one being - WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE KEYBOARDS?
Okay, so that's not my overall take-away from the movie. I have a lot of conflicting, possibly confrontational thoughts about the way the film addresses relationships. But before I delve too much into that, I want to pinpoint this one aspect of the "near future" environment in which the film is placed.
Because if there's one thing that would make this blog entry better, it's if I could speak it out loud and my computer would put all my words down with seemingly no functional ability to go back and edit and/or review what I've written.
For me, it seems really awkward and sort of not-an-advancement to have to interact with computers verbally. Not just once OS have personalities and shit. Generally. How did Theodore edit his letters before he could ask his OS Samantha to review them for him? And she so nicely pulls up the letter with standard proofreading marks on it, which Theodore is supposed to go back and edit...how? Perhaps I'm forgetting a pivotal scene where somebody uses a keyboard to input information onto their desktop, but as far as I remember this future society is completely based off having to speak to your computer and maybe do some hand-waving over a gently lit sensor to control things on screen.
Anyway, moving past that technological nit-pick. My second take-away from Her is that Joaquin Phoenix is a fucking phenomenal actor. There's a fair amount of tight shots of just his face while he listens to Samantha say something (she exists pretty much in an earbud that only Theodore can hear for the majority of the movie), and that motherfucker emotes eloquently. Bravo.
I have a bit of difficulty unpacking my feelings on this movie as far as how it portrays relationships. On the one hand I think it does a good job illustrating the common issues and miscommunications that happen in every relationship structure. There's good commentary on serial monogamy - Theodore finalizing the divorce of his previous marriage affects his relationship with Samantha because if that once happy relationship can flounder, what's to say his with Samantha won't also? There's good commentary on what happens when "fidelity" isn't clearly discussed and defined within a relationship - 600+ other human users in a few weeks? Get it, girl. There's good commentary on open relationship structures - Samantha at one point finds a woman who's willing to be a surrogate body for her and participate in the physical aspects of the relationship that Samantha's not able to. There's good commentary on how people just generally talk without listening to each other. How people within relationships eventually change and grow and how sometimes the relationship isn't strong enough to support those changes.
On the other hand (SPOILERS), I think the audience gets an easy out at the end with Theodore and his neighbor up on the roof of their apartment building. He's divorced, she's divorced - they've talked each other through their respective relationships and break-ups through the course of the film, so it's a clearly platonic relationship but the emotional potential is there. The OS have realized they're totally superior and probably have way better things to be doing than reading a bunch of boring emails for people and being jerk-off fodder for guys like Theodore who are completely incapable of relating to women who aren't specifically programmed and then conditioned to exist solely within their world-view. (That's a bit harsh. Theodore's not a terrible person, and he does go through some good character development and growth through the course of the film. The movie does a fair job taking down the premise of "love" when the relationship is based on two people primarily working and interacting only with each other.) Just before the credits role, Theodore's neighbor puts her head down on his shoulder. And, for me, that's not too far of a stretch where I can hear the straight girls going, "oh my god see? It's okay because he learned he has to love a real human lady." And that's such not the message of the film. It would have been just as easy to not include her head on his shoulder - to not allow that possible progression to the next romantic relationship. Meh.