Her is the strangest movie I’ve seen in a while

Joaquin Phoenix in Her

The movie Her starring Joaquin Phoenix was not at all what I expected.

Usually that’s a good thing because I like movies to surprise me.

In a good way.

But Her surprised me in an odd way.

I saw it several nights ago and have been turning it over in my head ever since.

The bit is that Joaquin Phoenix is a guy who writes professionally.

Sort of.

He works for a company that ghost writes personal letters for people.

That’s a cool set up.

So Phoenix sits in his office all day and dictates letters to people.  Often they are love letters for clients who have hired him to do their intimate writing for years.

But anyway, Phoenix has gone through a bad break up of his marriage and is struggling to get back on his feet.

When he falls in love.

Okay, sounds pretty normal so far, right?

Not so fast.

He falls in love with an operating system.

You know like Windows 8.

Except the OS he falls for is a new prototype with artificial intelligence.

I don’t know how much of this was by design, but all the way through the movie I found myself comparing it and Phoenix’s performance to old Woody Allen movies, the ones where he would go off on a philosophical tangent while Diane Keaton stared blankly at him.

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton

Phoenix also reminded me of a self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh self-portrait

But I have to admit that the movie made me think.

It made me think about the absurdities inherent in the virtual world, the world that sits on top of us like a dome, the reality it is impossible to escape.

How often have you sat in a waiting room, or in a diner, or at an airport and observed that every person in your range of vision is looking, not at other people, but at a computer screen or a smart phone?  It is not unusual now for people eating together at a restaurant to text back and forth instead of speaking.

So it’s not a huge step to imagine a world where love becomes virtual.

Check out Her for yourself and get back to me.

But if you decide after seeing it that you want to fall in love with your newest operating system, you can keep that news to yourself.

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