4th Mar 2014

Her: The Movie About Love, Remotely Speaking


Rock of Eden views luxury & jewelry through the lens of art, fashion and culture and sometimes we feel compelled to write about something that has little to do with jewelry at all. There are moments in American pop culture that reflect who we may becoming as a society. We think the movie, HER, is a film that portrays the dynamic of love accurately, even if it’s a bit surreal to think about. Read on.

HER, by the award winning writer director, Spike Jonze, (deservedly so in our opinion) is about a relationship between a human and a computer operating system. To be able to achieve a level of intimacy with a computer operating system (OS), on par with a real world human relationship, would on paper at least, seem impossible. Well, that is exactly what this movie accomplishes with beats that parallel the dangerous curves and forks in the road of a real world relationship. Even humans and their OS inevitably must deal with the anxiety of keeping up with someone who is changing and growing, or the insecurity of not being the only planet in your partner’s galaxy, or well, the highs and lows of sex. Yep, even sex with an operating system is covered here. Believe it or not it works except for a few weird/uncomfortable moments in movie theatre darkness with a blank screen and nothing but sound between the actor boyfriend (Joaquin Phoenix) and his operating system girlfriend (or maybe I’m a prude, who knows?)

What has this to do with luxury? Well, as noted in Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive, time is the most precious luxury for human beings these days. And it is the lack of time that could have led Spike Jonze to have conceived of a world where people form relationships with intuitively adapting artificial intelligence based operating systems. The operating system immediately adapts to it’s partner’s sense of humor or moods and learns to cope and guide the humanoid as needed. Wow. Someone who always understands us is what we all want right? Exactly.

The movie could have fallen off the rails here but it doesn’t. The human OS relationship becomes involved with family and other friends and it is executed in a way, thanks to Joaqin Phoenix, that is totally believable. We really like this relationship and see no reason to discriminate against an OS just because she doesn’t have a body. (Side note: we have no idea why Joaquin Phoenix was not an Oscar nominee.)

The OS feels bad about not having a body and because it wants to adapt, ittries to solve this problem, and it does, but not in the way we expect. Metaphysical properties take hold here and Joaquin has to keep up but after all he’s only human. We won’t spill any more details here but even the ending works in a totally believable and logical way. Here too, the story could have taken a sour turn – it didn’t.

There were some futuristic moments in the movie that were hilarious because they’re practically here now. Seeing people talk on their blue tooth while shopping or grabbing their morning java is pretty common these days. In the world of HER these same people are talking to their OS friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, what have you with such intimacy that inadvertently brushing up against a human in the real world requires no apology because the other person is also deeply engaged with their OS in conversation. Today it’s a routine phone call tomorrow it’s an OS relationship.

In HER everyone has time for their OS partner because you can handle it all while you’re walking, working, exercising, eating or sleeping. There’s plenty of time for a relationship from the human point of view because at long last we can multi-task the relationship! And best of all the OS requires no gifts or flowers other than the occasional photographic image.

The ever adapting OS partner however keeps growing and changing exponentially and we all know where that leads. Breaking up is hard to do, even with an OS.

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