At the risk of being cuffed and booked by the irony police (17th Precinct), it must be noted that the theater in which I viewed this film was indeed, freezing. The air felt as if it had been imported from the arctic itself, frigid and unrelenting much like my ex-wife Carol. If this was an artistic choice that the producers of the movie worked out with the theater then I say, “Brava.” If this was not the case, then I am ready to hit post on my scathing Yelp review at less than a moment’s notice.
To tackle the subject of technology, to try to weigh its value and decode its importance in the lives of the people that society has forced us to become is not only brave… it’s monumental. The filmmakers have essentially put a microscope up to our dependency on the very machines that allow us to live more easily and yet at the same time shackle us to mediocrity. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “My name is Dwight Sampson and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the message of this film.”
Aside from being a brilliant actor in his own right, I believe the casting choice of Joaquin Phoenix as our protagonist, Theodore Twombly, has layers that the naked eye does not immediately detect. Layers like the ones in my witch of an ex-wife Carol’s infamous Super Bowl bean dip. Phoenix is an actor who rejects Hollywood and all its superfluous charades and even accolades, rather concerning himself with the great movies he makes. Twombly, in turn, rejects society’s disapproval and intrinsic belief that a relationship constitutes two living, breathing people, and not one human and one operating system.
The film is startling to us as an audience because it forces us to look at just how blurred the lines of technology and reality have become. The two are not mutually exclusive; we are as dependent on technology as it is on us and our insatiable desire for more shortcuts, more apps–essentially more distractions. This is demonstrated when Scarlett Johansson, who voices Phoenix’s bot girlfriend, expresses her desire to be with him, emotionally and physically.
It was also at this point during the film I realized that I was indeed not watching Frozen, the film I had been assigned to critique but rather the critically acclaimed Her. Although my editor Carol (no relation to my gold-digging and current CEO of Google ex-wife) was completely dismayed that I had managed to sit in a theater for a solid hour before realizing that it was not the cartoon movie I was supposed to be watching, I was not surprised.
What a commentary on our society if there ever was one. What are movies? What is language? We may never know. What we do know is that nothing is constant, nothing is unwavering; sometimes our phones experience glitches, so do our brains. You cannot rely on anyone, especially not anyone named Carol. I fucking hate you Carol and P.S. I am taking the ottoman.
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