on Her – the awful new Spike Jonze film

January 16, 2014

on Her. (some mild spoilers): This vacant and deeply solipsistic movie seems like it was dreamed up inside the head of the gadget departments at Apple and Google. It feels like an aspirational style ad for a New Operating System that you can fully interact with. “Like WOW Consumers!” This is fine, sure… but pointless as a feature film. The film rolls out along these lines and then, somehow, goes awry after about 90 minutes and has a kind of soppy, bummer ending. It is in (virtual) reality the fourth film of the much lauded cinematic wunderkind, Spike Jonze. It has received much, almost universal praise from mainstream press and critics – like it is a new film from a recently resurrected Stanley Kubrick. But sadly this is not the case. It is the empty and dull story of a man called Theodore Twombly, who is a dickless nobody who writes greeting cards and letters and lives in some ‘five minutes in to the future’ version of LA/Malaysia. Ted instead of jerking off to net porn and dating a real human being gets some new OS from Apple or Google (Coming Soon for just 666.66$) and then falls in love with it. One hour of pointless navel gazing follows where you want to walk up to Joaquin Phoenix or Spike Jonza, slap their faces and demand they read the works of Martin Heidegger or Friedrich Nietzsche. Audio book versions for Spike Jonze as, apparently, he ‘doesn’t read’. Then it descends in to the aforementioned tawdry melodrama – The End. We saw this before with Andrew Nichols (flop) film SimOne from the early 00’s and this is the rehash. Has a subplot riffing on Jonze’s break up with Sofia Coppola – that seems to be about the only ‘real thing’ in this movie. The mise en scene and locations are impressive and original, that is only stand out aspect of this film I can give it praise for, but it is all just background. This film is, at it’s core, just a lame ass Romance Movie about a guy falling in love with his latest AI iPhone (available in the lobby 999.99$). That’s all. That’s it. That’s supposed to be profound. It’s not. It’s empty as the phone you have in your hand right now, and the lives many of us all revolve around it. It’s also meant to be some supposed critique of our technological isolation and loneliness. It does touch on this theme, but does so in a way that totally sells this lifestyle, also. The film is insidious in it’s embrace of this atomized lonely world of technological solipsism – even if it also acknowledges some down sides in the small print. No doubt fixable by some new individualizing app! Overall I found Her a trite and unsatisfying light sci fi romance romp for the hand gadget obsessed and alone, New Gen worker clones. Not unpleasant to watch, it washes over you in a quiet way – but a sense of cinematic dread and despair also fills you as the 2 hours of this film play themselves out, as you realize, people really do LOVE this SHIT and are that shalllow. Download that, suckers.


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