Her?!

Posted: August 25, 2014 by jperritt in Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Tags: , , ,

her_xlgSoooo…I hadn’t read the content of this movie before we received it on Netflix.  Some of you may have never heard of this film, but those of you who have may raise a questionable eyebrow towards this rental.  For those of you who may rent it (as well as, those of you who question watching it) just be sure and utilize the fast-forward and your eyelids.

My reasons for renting?  Joaquin Phoenix, Spike Jonze and the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.  Those are sincere reasons for my desire to watch it, but my occupation also supplied some.  See, I am a youth director and when I heard that this film is about a guy who develops an emotional attachment to an operating system, I thought, That sounds similar to some youth cultural trends I’m aware of.  Let me provide some info about the movie.

[spoilers ahead]

Her follows the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely guy who writes letters for people who inadequately express themselves through the written word.  As the viewer meets Theodore, we discover that he is at the end of a relationship, but is unwilling to complete the divorce process by signing the papers.  He is a quiet, sad man, but still seems to be someone who possesses an inviting nature toward those in his world.  However, it is through this season of desperation that Theodore purchases the new operating system for his computer, OS1.  This OS1 – “Samantha” – is a bodiless entity (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) that fills the void in Theodore’s life.  She provides him companionship, organization, direction, happiness – pretty much anything our selfish heart longs for…for a while.

It turns out that many people have fallen in love with this new operating system.  In many ways, this system provides them everything they want in a relationship, minus the hassle.  You see, users can use the system as much as they want.  They can turn it on and turn it off, whenever there’s a need.  But, the user can simply pursue solace whenever they get tired of dealing with the needs of the OS – even though the OS is just an operating system that doesn’t truly have needs.

This film – although it will be super-weird for most people – is so prophetic.  To me, this film is a picture of our future.  As ridiculous as it seems, this is exactly where our pre-teens and teens are headed.  Think I’m crazy?  Let’s consider a few parallels from the film:

  • People are enamored with their digital devices.
  • People begin to long for the digital “life” over real life.
  • People are able to feed their selfishness through technology.
  • People are able to escape challenge/difficulty/sadness by their technology.
  • People are easily accepting what would seem absurd in previous epochs.

With all that’s been said, let me take a few steps back.  I am not a Luddite.  As Christians, we must appreciate technology and thank God for the technology He has created.  To be Christian does not mean living a life that’s anti-technology.  That being said, Her serves as a sobering reminder of true relationships and warns about the effects of technology on them.

One interesting aspect of the film came through the fact that Samantha and Theodore’s relationship became a bit rocky.  It started out great.  There was laughter.  There was joy.  There was shared interest, but then it got tough.  In other words, it was like every relationship on the face of the planet.  The interesting aspect came from the fact that Samantha became more complicated as she became more human.  She was constantly learning, constantly studying humanity; therefore, she seemed more and more human all the time.  However, this allowed her to pick up on intonation, as well as, express her own felt needs.

This movie tells us many things, but one thing it does tell us is that humanity is complex.  People are messed up.  There are no perfect relationships, but there is a deep need for relationship.  Because we are a people who still long for Eden, we don’t like conflict, we don’t like difficulty, we don’t like things to come at a cost.  However, because we are a people who still long for Eden, we need relationship.  Therefore, we are stuck in the already and the not yet of relationships – relationships will hurt us, but we need them.

Her beautifully illustrates this truth.  Until the return of King Jesus, we are destined for heartache.  We need others, but we will hurt others.  We long for fellowship, but fellowship will disappoint.  Her captures both ends of the spectrum quite well.  Again, many need to be warned about the content of the film – it is a bit much at times.  However, this film should (hopefully) provide a brief pause to the insane habits our ever-changing culture is adopting as normative.

 

 

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