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Her - The new Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman Film


lordcookie
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I quite liked it. Visually it was excellent and the performance were great. But I think I had a different reading of the film which is probably quite wrong.

I thought it was vaguely sinister how quickly he got together with the AI- she was basically an advanced child with no real understanding of how meotions really work, and definitely not ready for a relationship. So it's no surprise she went off the deep end after being introduced to sex way too early in her development and ended up in relationships with 641 people.

He was well meaning but ultimately screwed up- he wanted a partner who would be exclusive to him, at his beck and call- someone who could basically switch off when he didn't want to deal with them. Basically everything his ex-wife said to him seemed pretty accurate.

For me the end of the movie seemed to be saying that humans are so flawed and pathetic that even computers will ultimately reject us. I almost thought him and Amy were going to throw themselves off the roof at the end.

It was very funny though, well written, a lot of heart in it, and I loved the design of the film, the colours, the aesthetic, even if there's something chilling about a future populated almost entirely by hipsters with made-up jobs. :)

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I thought this was fucking brilliant. It's a strange film in that it can be read in very different ways - I found it quite heartfelt and moving while I was watching it, but there's something incredibly dark and creepy about it, too, and that side of it dominated my thoughts post-viewing. On the one hand it's a touching examination of human frailty and loneliness, on another it's a warning about the dangers of becoming too attached to technology.

The only thing that didn't really ring true was the little alien videogame character that swore a lot. Felt a bit juvenile in a film that had a maturity to it that most wouldn't immediately associate with Jonze.

But yeah, definitely worth seeing.

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It's not as good as Together in Electric Dreams.

Did you ever see Electric Dreams?

Jonze: No, but people have referenced it. It was in the last few months that I keep hearing about it because people have referenced that. Is Electric Dreams where the guy has a relationship with an artificial being?

Not really. It's more of an early generation desktop computer... I don't remember what model.

Jonze: So it's a love story?

It's a love story between a guy and a girl but his computer becomes obsessed with the girl, too. It's very sad, actually. And has a good Giorgio Moroder theme.

Jonze: Oh cool. It sounds good.

A friend of mine -- upon seeing only the trailer to Her, mind you -- said, "So, basically Spike Jonze has ripped off Electric Dreams."

Jonze: [Laughs.] That wasn't very nice of your friend.

That's what I said: "You've only seen the trailer."

Jonze: Wow, harsh. Let's call her right now. [Laughs.] What's her name?

Her name's Phoebe.

Jonze hits dial on my iPhone and switches it to speaker. A robotic female voice-mail service implores him to leave a message.

Jonze: Hey Phoebe, this is Spike Jonze. We were just talking about your critique of the trailer to Her. I didn't even see Electric Dreams, okay! It sounds like an interesting movie, though, but -- come on! -- cut me some slack. Gimme a chance. Anyway, hope all is good. Give us a call back. Luke, do you want to say anything?

He's not happy. The interview was going really well and you upset him.

Jonze: I started crying.

He flipped a table over.

Jonze: I was inconsolable for five minutes!

A beeping indicates a call is coming through.

Jonze: Oh, this is her. Let's get it. [He answers.] Hey, Phoebe?

Phoebe: Hey, what's up.

Jonze: Ah, nothing. This is Spike Jonze. I'm sitting here with Luke and we're doing an interview for a movie. [beat of silence.] This is Spike. I'm here with your friend.

Phoebe: [Laughs.] Hi... how are you!

Jonze: We're calling you to give you a hard time because you compared my movie to Electric Dreams.

Phoebe: [Laughs.] I can't believe you're doing this!

Jonze: I know! Luke threw you under the bus.

Phoebe: I was giving you a really big compliment, because that's one of my favorite movies.

Jonze: Oh, he left that part out. Conveniently. I haven't seen that movie, but Luke just described it to me and it sounds great. I just had to defend myself.

Jonze proceeds to carry on a conversation for four or five minutes, inquiring about her work and how things are in the office. He's genuinely curious; more at ease exploring a stranger's life than discussing his own movie. They finally emerge from their chatter.

Phoebe: And how's your interview with Luke going?

Jonze: Good! I already gave him a spritz of lavender spray that helped him relax.

Phoebe: He can be a little uptight sometimes.

Jonze: [Laughs.] He seems pretty mellow. Alright, I'll let you get back to work. It was nice to meet you. Be well.

The publicist comes in, telling us to wrap it up.

Jonze: Sorry. We had to call Phoebe. I'm glad we got to call her. That made me feel better. [He stalls the publicist again.] Let's wrap this. We need a conclusion to this article, don't you think? Or did that feel like an ending?

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I thought this was fantastic, maybe Jonze's best film; an amazing script and a superb central performance from Phoenix. From recent memory only Blue is the Warmest Colour has captured love and relationships as honestly as this does.

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I couldn't buy into this, unfortunately. It had lots to like, but I couldn't get into the Samantha character at all. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief in the idea of there being sentient AIs available off the shelf to all and sundry in the very near future that are indistinguishable from people. It's not like she was pretending, or saying what he wanted to hear. For most of the film there was nothing to set her apart from a real person, apart from the lack of a body. This was the idea of course, but I couldn't accept it.

I dunno whether it was an uncanny valley thing, or the lack of a body, or the lack of scene-setting at the start. I have no such troubles with Replicants or Cylons, for example. It also might have been because Samantha wasn't a very interesting "person", at least not until

she outgrows her human relationship at the end. I did love her metaphor for how she felt about Twombly in the later stages, as a book she loves with the words getting further and further apart, and how she lives more in the spaces inbetween. I thought that was a really great was of expressing the gulf in intellect. I also chuckled at the idea of generating your perfect woman persona just from how you respond to a question about your relationship with your mother. That was a nice reversal of the opening scene of Blade Runner, where Leon gets asked about his mother and flips out.

I liked the scenes that weren't between Twombly and Samantha, though. And the aesthetics were lovely. The design of the future tech, with its wood paneling and leather, was really neat.

It had interesting ideas, but I disappointed after all the positive impressions I've read.

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http://www.avclub.com/article/watch-spike-jonze-have-a-tense-interview-with-a-bb-201300?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:1:Default

Last Friday, director Spike Jonze went on the BBC’s Newsnight to discuss his Oscar-nominated film Her. Journalist Emily Maitlis kicked off the interview by asking Jonze to talk about the idea of “falling in love with your software”—and things immediately got a little weird. Jonze countered that the movie isn’t about people's interaction with technology, but rather that it’s “a love story and a relationship story.” As Jonze pressed Maitlis with questions about how she felt while watching it, trying to elicit an emotional reaction, Maitlis continued to focus on the movie’s science-fiction aspects. Meanwhile, the audience wrung its hands and wished the two would just talk about Scarlett Johansson’s Oscar dress or something. It all made for fairly awkward television.

Later, Maitlis took to Twitter to blow off some steam: "Ok .now I can tell you what I thought of #her,” she wrote. “Sad, male fetish fantasy of disembodied female who does his bidding." Jonze hasn’t responded to that, which—depending on which of the two you ask—could mean he's unwilling to interact meaningfully with a non-autonomous woman, or he has trouble making real human connections in this fast-paced, technology-driven, workaday world. (Or he hasn’t seen it yet.)

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I have to admit that I don't quite get the wild praise that y'all are giving the film. The twombly character never quite worked for me, I couldn't work out if he was meant to be a shy nerd or a gregarious lotherio. His personality seemed to shift to suit the needs of the plot. It felt like there was a lot of potential for some interesting ideas to be explored (how people interact with technology, how technology shapes us and our relationships, the changing nature of relationships conducted through electronic communications) but it never really went near them or went all that in depth. It just seemed a bit hollow in places. I know that kaufman wasn't involved, but he would have given this idea a much better stab if he had been.

I also agree that Samantha was also as dull as ditchwater.

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There's definitely an unlikeable element to him, but I do think that

The few moments when he acts of his own volition are the turning points for him in the film, and where he tries to move past a problem with himself that even he deep down knows exists. Buying the OS, signing the divorce papers, going to see Amy to talk, going on holiday, and then the whole end sequence when he writes the letter to Catherine and then goes to see Amy not only for his own consolation but for hers too. I think his development is best exemplified by how he's shown to truly be happy for Samantha at the end, despite losing her.

Amazing film, although I found myself falling for Amy instead :wub:

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  • 2 months later...

Couldn't even reach the end of this. So dull and drawn out. I loved the concept, the cast and what it potentially had to say but the reality was boring with an over emphasis on creepy. I'd usually lap up anything that Joaquin Phoenix is in but although there's no doubt this is an impressive acting performance his character was so annoying I just lost patience with him. A missed opportunity.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw this the other night - I really enjoyed it. But as Joaquin stands on the roof at the end of the film and stares, wistfully into the distance, I wanted him to say, choked up and barely on the edge of hearing,

"Who the fuck is going to organise my emails now?"

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Warning: the following post contains gushing praise.

I really truly loved the film. I thought it was a beautifully crafted piece that had so much to say but all the while being enchanting and entertaining.

I felt that with every scene I was able to connect with and take away an inspiring thought or heartfelt message. It was filled with ideas that were perfectly executed. I've rarely experienced a world so cohesive that drew me in and guided me through the principal characters' journeys.

I especially loved Samantha. It's made me fall for Scarlett Johannson's voice :wub: Funnily I didn't recognise her voice for the whole film - perhaps it's because I've never heard her as a tender and loving companion. The films I've seen her in are either where she's some kind of smart know it all or as Black Widow.

The only issue I have with the film is:


where Samantha and Theodore have sex. I can't get my head around how Samantha has sexual desires. Can this be generated from knowledge alone?


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The only issue I have with the film is:

where Samantha and Theodore have sex. I can't get my head around how Samantha has sexual desires. Can this be generated from knowledge alone?

She probably makes it so close as she can make it for herself, but she probably experiences something entirely different from a human's biological function.

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  • 2 months later...
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