We’ve seen Ryan Gosling fall in love with a life-size doll, cousins, brothers and sisters cross that line, from time to time I’ve even questioned the Tony Stark/Jarvis relationship. The point is, the 21st century has brought with it some unconventional romantic partnerships. In Spike Jonze’s new romantic sci-fi, ‘Her’, his peek into the near future may be unconventional, but is it unreal?
Lonely Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a soulful writer of personal letters between loved ones. Navigating his post-divorce life with only his mousy best friend Amy (Amy Adams) to help him through the sorrowful bitterness, Theodore purchases the world's first Artificial Intelligence operation system, known as OS1. After a few initial setup questions and choosing his OS1 to be female, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) is born, and the pair begin a beautiful friendship. With the two becoming inseparable, along with Sam’s ever-growing knowledge base, the couple soon become intimate and fall in love - an idea that is not only new to them, but the world as well.
To view a relationship as intimate as Theodore and Sam’s, it’s amazing how Jonze allows the audience to feel, not like a third wheel, but a witness to true innocence and beauty - something so uniquely special.
The beauty of this story lies in its near-realism. If ‘Her’ was to be made only a few years ago, it would be a kooky tale of love that audiences would laugh off as cute and charming, but today it’s an eerie look and what may very well come to pass. We already have Siri, so is a “Samantha” the next technological development? This idea then filters forward into questions such as, what does a successful relationship comprise of? For years now, couples have met and fallen in love via online chatrooms and email, so why not an artificially intelligent operating system? People list humour, compassion, intelligence, even politics as their top affable qualities in a mate. If this is true, is a physical form really that necessary?
In the lead up to ‘Her’s' release, many have questioned the validity of Johansson’s vocal performance when it comes to award nominations. Believe me, five minutes in, all those doubts will be quashed, you will become a convert and you too will melt at the sound of her breathy laugh and husky emotional confessions. Prepare to witness unconventional and unquestionable love.