Alice Shen (aliceinpunderland)
Alice's Recent Reviews
"Her" is set in a not-so-distant future where technology is a matter of course. Mobile devices all but do your laundry, and everybody accesses them by talking into and listening through ubiquitous earpieces. Theodore's job is a letter-writer proxy of sorts who voice-composes touching sentiments, and a computer prints out the quaint relics in "handwritten" font. The movie, at first, cleverly satirizes the future's dependence on technology, but then, through Theodore's relationship with his intelligent Operating System, we see that our present-day relationships with human beings (with or without the help of tech) are not so different.
The movie sweetly navigates Theodore and Samantha's nascent attraction blossoming into giddy honeymoon. I especially love the little detail of the safety pin that props Theodore's device up over his shirt pocket so that Samantha may view the world through the camera. The existential quandaries that Samantha's machine-mind ponders are also not alien to human sensibilities. She steadily learns more how to feel and express, and she wonders if her feelings are real without a body and central nervous system. Despite having those, I often wonder myself whether my feelings and facial expressions are "real" or just socially conditioned through watching actors in movies emote, signifying THIS is how to look happy or THIS is how to look concerned.
The central problem of all human/OS relationships occurs when the A.I.'s capacity for love and thirst for knowledge grows beyond the humans'. The OSs choose to leave their "masters," as past sci-fi movies have shown us they are wont to do. This is where the movie could have used less subtlety. If the OS exodus is meant to be a metaphor for lovers growing apart, there should be more explanation or more possible conflict and danger arising from Samantha going offline. Some parallels can also be drawn to polyamorous relationships and their principles and practices. Without a deeper commentary on A.I. agency and/or polyamory, Samantha just seems like a flaky tramp.
Nevertheless, what's remarkably true about this movie is its universal treatment of love. The OS could be a stand-in for any human person, with their own curiosities and insecurities and wanderlusts. Whether we meet online or in person, love has basically similar trajectories (like Shakespeare's six basic story plots), and there will always be societal stigmas against dating outside one's norm.
A lot of fun while watching (with Liam Neeson's gruff-then-lobotomized Bad Cop/Good Cop, but the cutesy inanity grows tiresome with such flimsy plot. *Spoilers* The reveal of the human parallels is clever, but the legend of the Special is kinda wasted on vague gooeyness that a kid wouldn't really say to his Type-A dad. Nothing much is done with Wild Style's character either and her erstwhile wish of being the Special, which would seem more plausible after aforementioned vague gooeyness.
Alice's Favorite Movies
Every shot is visually and aurally breathtaking. While Knightley is tolerably good, her performance isn't worth a GG nomination. The woman says "I love you" in the most unconvincing way possible. Romola Garai is even more compelling in her (at most) 20-minute part.
I love a movie that's not afraid to make fun of its own ethnic stereotypes (which are SPOT ON by the way). Sidesplittingly hysterical and oddly philosophical at times. And if you don't want to drive 4 hours to the nearest White Castle after watching this, you're dead to me. Ya hear me?! DEAD!
Alice's Favorite Actors