‘Her’. Thank you, Spike Jonze, for an utterly brilliant, exploratory look at our future, and the collision of humanity and technology. Joaquin Phoenix confirms yet again that he’s one of the best actors going around. Scarlett Johansson’s voice acting, a joy.
Writing feelings on behalf of other people, programmatic feelings, faking feelings. This runs throughout, begging the question of what an authentic feeling is, and how much of a one-way, need-based thing it is at times.
And from a purely HCI perspective, ‘Her’ makes me a believer in voice interactions. It’s a deceptively simple take on technology that’s not constantly in your face via pieces of different size glass. No radical Minority Report hand-waving dominating here.
A week and a half later, talking it over, I realise the utopia he created and admire the writing all the more. No cars, no crime, no money, no class differentiation, no illness. Any other film would call this out. Here, you don’t notice it until you do. It all sits in the background like the technology, focus clearly pulled to relationships.
The ending, with a shared, unspoken look and stare, and head on shoulder suggests real human contact is still hard to replace.
EDIT: It took a second viewing to understand how truly magnificent Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography was. Warmth and a roller-coaster of other emotions eloquently displayed. Arcade Fire’s score is getting no way near enough love and recognition either. The music in general, going from what Theo listens to , to Samantha composing music and eventually playing something together is beautiful writing from Jonze. The dialogue and acting when Theo is telling Samantha that he’s reached the height of all he’ll ever feel, with every future moment being a watered-down version ruined me as a standout scene.