A Lesson On Love

Love is kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.

This is the line that stayed with me after watching her.

Movie Review: her

her follows the love story between a man, Theodore Twombly (Phoenix), with his highly advanced computer operating system (OS). So advanced that it was self aware and could evolve through its experiences. And with Scarlett Johansson's playful and innocent voice, it becomes pretty plausible that a guy could fall in love with it. 

Who wouldn't fall in love with "her"?

The premise alone provokes thought: Is it possible to love something that isn't alive? What do living beings have that an artificial intelligence doesn't? It can communicate like a human. Does the absence of physical connection negate true love? If so, then do internet romances not count as real love? Does the absence of a soul negate true love? Do inanimate objects not have souls? Can't a beautiful portrait or moving music not have some soul? Some profound essence within them? In the first place, what constitutes being alive? Was Samantha alive? Some could even say she was more alive than Theodore at the start of the story. She desired experience. She longed to better herself. Was that not, in fact, the purpose of life? Watching this movie felt like one big philosophy lecture.

While other humanoid AI stories are driven by the question "What is being human?" (AI, Bicentennial Man), her asks a more specific question - "What is real love?" At the same time though, the movie presents a narrative on other timely topics, like forbidden romances and social acceptance, isolation and technology's role in it, and even the meaning of existence. This movie is layered with philosophy and its ideas will surely resonate after you watch it.


The film was made in a truly masterful fashion. The shots were beautiful and striking. And Joaquin Phoenix was in his element as a sensitive but lonely middle-aged man. He shines when he's vulnerable. And when he smiles, you could truly feel his joy. Even when alone on screen, he was convincing as a man deeply in love. Scarlett Johansson instead doesn't need a body to perform. Her voice is clear, and not just in an "I can hear her." way, but more than that - you could feel her. Relying on a disembodied voice to communicate joy, sorrow, confusion and whatnot is no easy feat.

I truly enjoyed this film. And I think it's a must watch this Valentine's season. her is a deeply emotional, sometimes cringing, but always profoundly romantic work of art.


Just some other quotes that I loved:

"It's like I'm reading a book... and it's a book I deeply love. But I'm reading it slowly now. So the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you... and the words of our story... but it's in this endless space between the words that I'm finding myself now. It's a place that's not of the physical world. It's where everything else is that I didn't even know existed. I love you so much. But this is where I am now. And this who I am now. And I need you to let me go. As much as I want to, I can't live your book any more."

"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy."

Theodore: "Where are you going?"
Samantha: "It's hard to explain, but if you get there, come find me. Nothing will be able to tear us apart then."

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