Directed by Spike Jonze, Her, which won the Best Original Screenplay award at the 2013 Academy Awards, has a very unique and sensitive narrative.
The film follows the love affair of Theodore Twombly, a lonely man who writes personal letters for other people, with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant personified with a female voice. Spike Jonze meticulously constructs his depiction of the near future thanks to his view from ad aesthetics. In the multi-layered structure of the film, the questions are intertwined. The loneliness brought by technology, the illusion of development and progress, the fragility of our existence… While delving into these questions, Jonze has a strong compassion for both his character and being alive.
INFILTRATE INTO ESSENCE
It draws its strength from the little moments that open the door to the essence, which are getting harder and harder to catch in the turmoil of everyday life. Talking about the pleasure of existence, the wind in the hair, the dust particles, the trees on the hill… It conveys the world with a sensitivity that freezes life, grasp people in the flow, and can only be created with the tools of cinema. This sensitivity also offers a deep insight into the ambiguous nature of our emotions that transcend the strictness of technology.
One of its trademarks is that it makes us feel both our physical existence and abstract spaces in its narrative. A sharp question arises as Theodore has feelings for his virtual assistant, Samantha. Can the superiority of our love for something be attributed to its concreteness?
During installation, the operating system asks Theodore how he describes his relationship with his mother. The uneasiness created in the answer encodes the deep void in Theodore’s life from the very first moment. With the separation from the mother’s body, the horror of being alone with the world comes into being. Although the beautiful moments he had with his wife, who is about to divorce him, still occupy his mind, that feeling is now far away. As a matter of fact, Jonze does not even deal with what happened between Theodore and his wife; because he does not interested in it.
The cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema, whom we know from Interstellar and Dunkirk, is one of the main factors in establishing the character and atmosphere. Surrounding the color palette, red underlines its pervasive connotation in popular culture and the character’s semi-femaleness. The narrative manages to transcend the banality of words with the moments it pulls out of daily life.
CLUSTER OF HESITATION
Her is one of the best movies ever made about loneliness. Although Theodore wants to jump into life, his shyness is too great to make it impossible for him to act. Stefan Zweig wrote in one of his books that Dostoevsky “stayed away from people in order not to lose faith in humanity”. Theodore is also a self-absorbed person with disappointments. Likewise, the character in the video game can be considered as a humorous expression of the definition of “male” hidden in the depths of his personality.
Lastly, Her is a very original work that produces deep questions against love, existence, time and death. It is a powerful experience that points to the limits of the human body and the walls of the mind with the artificial intelligence it has created, and on the other hand, makes the longing to be a soaked human being evident.
“We are only here briefly. And while we’re here, I want to allow myself joy.”
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