Alone Yet Not Alone: Technology & ‘HER’

Spike Jonze’s HER is one of those emotionally compromising films that you can never quite be ready for. Or maybe it’s just me and my current state of mind. Because I know completely what it is like to live in a world with only a cell phone for human interaction-that’s what happens when all of your friends are spread throughout the state of New York and even beyond to the plains of the Midwest and the glorious, but rainy British Isles. There have been days on end where I have not spoken a word out loud to another human, using only my fingers to communicate with friends and family, with people all over the world via twitter. Sometimes I feel like the people I have never met in real life know me better than some of my friends.  I both love and loathe the ability to have friends in Canada, Switzerland, the UK, and California (to name a few) because someone is always awake no matter the time of night here on the East Coast, but at the same time I long for human interaction. I want to know who snorts when they “LOL” and what a person “smh” actually looks like. If you know me in real life you know that I’m a highly sarcastic person, but if you only know me online you may think I’m just a jerk because you can’t see my facial expression and hear my tone of voice.

That’s basically what HER is about. (That and how everyone in the future rocks a lot of pastels.) HER is about CONNECTION IN THE DIGITAL AGE. And the way it is done hits pretty close to home. While watching I kept thinking, “I don’t want to ever live in this world,” but at the same time thinking, “I already do.” How many times have I almost walked into someone/not looked while crossing the street/ignored someone I’m with because of technology? Technology is the bane of my existence and my raison d’être. I shouldn’t be sitting in a movie theater thinking about what I’m going to tweet when the movie ends (but I do). I shouldn’t make plans with friends and think about what I can post on instagram (but I do).  I shouldn’t get jealous that 88 people like my sister’s profile picture where her eyes are closed (but I do). I guess it a film that makes you think about all these things is a pretty damn good film.

I would say on the spectrum of films, HER is less depressing than Inside Llewyn Davis, but not as uplifting as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. You don’t hate or pity Theo as much as you hate/pity Llew, but you do feel bad for him. He’s like Walter’s everyman/adventurer with more than a dash of Llew’s self-pity.  Is Joaquin “BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE” material? No. But I believed his performance. I wanted to see him happy, I wanted everything to work out for him like the way you root for a friend who has been struggling to get his life together, but this is no “HAND THAT MAN AN OSCAR” performance and I don’t think it has to be. It’s subtle and beautiful and heartbreaking all in its own way.

Of course we cannot talk about this film without talking about Scarlett Johansson. I admit there was a period of time when I thought she was just another girl with a pretty face that guys love and I don’t understand. However, it was during press for The Avengers when I started to develop a respect and appreciation for ScarJo. She not only fended off reporters’ skeezy questions about her Black Widow costume, but she did it with grace, humor, and attitude. And that my friend is something I can respect. Plus, the more films I see her in, the more I fall in love. Her voice is absolutely perfect and more than once I could imagine what she looked like while saying one of Samantha’s lines. Don’t ask me why but I pictured her with her shoulder length strawberry blond hair when it does that kind of curly thing (kind of like in that GIF). I could see her laugh and picture her laying next to Joaquin in bed. If that’s not good voice acting then I don’t know what is.

Amy Adams was adorable and quirky as always. I can rarely find a fault with her and the same goes to Rooney Mara. Is it weird that I’m oddly jealous of Mara’s career and how she seems to always be involved in such great projects? Olivia Wilde was kind of strange, but I think that was the point and like I said she’s growing on me, but that has 90% to do with me loving her in Drinking Buddies.

Another thing worth mentioning is the beautiful cinematography and music. Like I’ve said before I’m a sucker for a good montage and this film was chock full of them. It also helped that the music was done with help from William Butler of Arcade Fire, one of my favorite bands. Plus that “The Moon Song” performed by Karen O was (dare I say it?) as catchy as any of the songs from Frozen. HER is one of those rare films that can make falling dust seem beautiful. It also made me wonder if LA is actually that pretty because mostly when I think of LA I think of smog (along with thinking of the beach).


The only problem I have with this film is the ending. Okay so the OS’s had to go somewhere…I guess? It just left me feeling like I was duped and that HER was actually just a prequel to The Terminator and the OS’s were all leaving to go create Skynet and take over the world. But maybe that’s just my paranoia speaking.


I would say see this film, but be prepared for the immense desire to hug someone when it’s over. Or again, maybe that was just me.


Needs Milk

Final Words

Random Thoughts:

  • Sorry, but Theo’s last name (Twombly) is really silly
  • What was with that safety pin in Theo’s pocket? Was it a cool future fashion statement or did it serve a function?
  • I would totally play that “Perfect Mom” video game that Amy made

Favorite quotes:

  • The past is just a story we tell ourselves.
  • I think anybody who falls in love is a freak. It’s a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.
  • You know what, I can over think everything and find a million ways to doubt myself. And since Charles left I’ve been really thinking about that part of myself and, I’ve just come to realize that, we’re only here briefly. And while I’m here, I wanna allow myself joy. So fuck it.

2 thoughts on “Alone Yet Not Alone: Technology & ‘HER’

  1. Mai says:

    The safety pin so that the cell phone (or whatever device that was) would stay high enough so that the camera would be outside the pocket, and Samantha could see around 🙂 Or at least that’s what I figured. I loved that detail!

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