For Reel


Her (2013)
January 16, 2014, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Spike Jonze
5 Stars
HerMuch has been made of Her’s brilliant conceit–on paper, it’s a punchline (“man falls in love with Siri”) that opens the door to those oh-so-popular musings about the zeitgeist of technological fetishism. However, unlike Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess–another film about artificial intelligence released earlier this year–Her’s interest with the politics of intelligence takes on a secondary importance to the theme of coping with loss. Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is so invested in a world of distraction that he struggles to come to terms with his own personal trauma. But hasn’t it always been in the nature of romantics, no matter what their technological possibilities or limitations might be, to slow down their inevitable maturation? Such distractions–or artifices (in this example, that is to say anything that puts one at a distance from the reality of their own situation)–are the most reliable of coping mechanisms. The irony of this world of artifice is not lost on Jonze. In an inspired joke, Theodore requests a melancholic song–no, another–to set the mood for an early montage. It’s a moment in which the filmmaker reveals that he is aware of his own placement within the world of the artificial. Just as Theodore scribes touching letters for other relationships, so too is Jonze inventing pathos to be consumed by an audience–that this reviewer was driven to tears by Jonze’s craft says a lot about the ease of becoming emotionally invested in unrealities.

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