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  1. #1
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default Did anyone watch "Her"? (2013)

    Just saw it last night, and I understand why it won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

    Reminded me in a lot of ways of "Eternal Sunshine..." which shouldn't be much shock -- it's essentially using a scifi concept to explore human relationship and how people relate, and Spike Jonze and Charlie Kauffman (the writer of ESotSM) worked on "Being John Malkovich" together. Even the visual style was reminiscent, since Theodore's memories of a lost love will sometimes blur into the present moment as we're looking out through his eyes... not quite as pastiche-like as ESotSM but with similarities.

    Great acting all around, although Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde do not get much screen time. (It was also nice to see Matt Letscher again -- I loved him waaay back in "The Mask of Zorro". And Chris Pratt, who can be annoying in a less gruff Seth Rogan kind of way, ended up being a little refreshing.) It's the principal actors, though, who really shine -- a low-key makeup-less Amy Adams, and then of course Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson.

    I'll admit that when I heard people clamouring for Johansson to be nominated for an award while never appearing on the screen, I was thinking, "Are you serious?" I like her as an actor, but I don't feel very beholden to her in ways that I see male audience members and some critics being; for me, personally, she's not a box-office draw. And even her initial lines here don't seem to be a big deal... but as the story progresses, she ends up actually being quite amazing. My understanding is that they recast the role after shooting, and she dubbed in all her lines... but they weren't only good readings, they were amazing readings even compared to actors who have the benefit of body language and facial expression. She only had her voice to convey emotion, and she did do effectively to the degree I felt Samanthan was there and I could reach out and touch her. She was real (and if AI truly was at that stage, I don't see how anyone could deny that AI are people). I could understand why Theodore fell in love with her so quickly.

    Which should not downplay the reality the Joaquin Phoenix also performed tremendously as the soft-spoken non-commital Theodore who writes other people's personal letters for them for hire, without ever really being able to put his own feelings into words for his own life. He had no female actor to physically play off (except for the Amy Adams scenes), and he just did such a believable job. I was both frustrated with Ted even while thinking he was a marvelous human being... just so very human.

    I most appreciated that the movie really didn't "wuss out" in raising and facing head-on some questions that would naturally come up. Is Samantha a 'real' person? What does 'real' mean? How much of our lives is 'real' to begin with? Where is technology taking us as individuals and a culture? Is jacking in something that will shut off our humanity or will it enable/accentuate it? Is Ted in love with Samantha because she offers an "easier" relationship than one with a flesh-and-blood woman, so it's a cop-out rather than growth opportunity? How is Theodore changing, for good or bad? How is Samantha changing? What are the different needs and strengths and weaknesses for a being not limited to a physical body, versus a being ANCHORED in a physical body? Can this kind of relationship EVER work? No matter how empathetic you are towards AI, there are scenes where your response to Samantha will mirror Ted's -- a very human response.

    Jonze is really willing to let us sit in that uncomfortable place with Theodore and Samantha without offering easy relief. He also sets up a number of parallel themes in the movie. (For example, Ted's relationship with Aimee compared to Samantha, or with his ex-wife Catherine vs Samantha, or Aimee's relationship with her own husband compared to Ted/Sam. Or the relationship with a white/Asian couple who is fine with double-dating with a man/AI couple... it's just another boundary being crossed. Or Ted's working for hire as an effective emotional surrogate for people, while being unable to handle a physical surrogate that Samantha wants to bring into the relationship. Or his momentary fling with Isabella and then the tables turning on him later.)

    And finally, the inevitable and rather unsettling turn near the end, that momentarily resolves the Ted/Sam relationship while not truly closing the door. It makes you wonder where humanity will be in so many years, where Artificial Intelligence might be (I've read that people predict the technological singularity might occur as soon as 2040, if not sooner), and what will happen when machines transcend themselves more quickly than humanity has due to their lack of physical limitation and ability to self-design/enhance to a degree humans have shunned.

    It's one of those movies that ends quietly and just... lingers for a long time afterwards, the ideas and themes percolating gently in a mind stew. It's a mature movie, I'm not really "angry" at any character for being stupid or unfair (well, except for maybe Isabella, who was demanding a lot for a first date and could have handled things differently) -- it brilliantly captured the complexity of relationship between two sentient beings, how nothing is clear-cut, how things are constantly changing as people GROW, and either people grow together or apart, and maybe things end not because of some horrible violation but simply because the relationship might be harmful now rather than beneficial.

    I was amazed at how a brief, "System Not Connecting" warning screen can strike terror not just in a character's heart but those of the entire audiences. And I'm still thinking about Samantha's "the space between the words" speech. How profound. (YOu'll know it when you hear it.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Great article about Jonze and the development/shooting/editing of the movie, including the recast of Morton for Johansson.

    How Spike Jonze Made the Timely Romance, Her -- Vulture
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    It's probably ScarJo's best role to date and kudos to Phoenix for delivering two masterful performances in a row (The Master and Her). I was troubled by the ending because it didn't make sense:


    Also, is this an INFP (Ted) and ESTP (Sam) relationship?
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  4. #4
    Senior Member lecky's Avatar
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    I just watched it tonight and I agree Ted was an INFP but Samantha an "ENFP". It was such a great film, was somewhat heartbreaking that Ted's only true love didn't really "exist". (Such an INFP theme). It's almost a horror film when you think that this could really happen in our lifetime. I don't think we are that far away. (Except for that weird far-fetched ending). I also think it could be one of the worst things that could ever happen for mankind. We are already becoming more and more socially isolated from each other. Face-to-face communication is being replaced by technology too much for my taste in the present.

    I loved one of the beginning awkward scene...I will just say dead cat.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Dead cat -- and you know that was Kristen Wiig, right? She was great.
    The "guyish" female voice right before her was actually a guy... Bill Hader.

    Still, the thing is, when you say Ted's only true love didn't really "exist" -- well, if you mean you don't think she's a real person, then that's exactly the type of issues this movie was trying to address. Did Samantha not exist? Was she not real? Are human beings real, and by what definition? We're tangible, sure. But is it the tangibility that makes us real people? We're really just wills that grow and learn and change over time, regardless of the shape and state of our body, aren't we?

    But tangibility vs intangibility creates a vast difference of expectation and experience, that much is true. Tangibility makes things personal, yet also limits.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Senior Member yeghor's Avatar
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    Samantha is a slut...

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    You can call her like that

    Beautiful movie. Phoenix was great and I also like music and colors. That was nice combinations.
    Only one thing I didn't like. Scarlett's voice. It was too flat and ordinary.

    Is Samantha a 'real' person? What does 'real' mean?
    "It's too bad she won't live...then again, who does?".

    How is Theodore changing, for good or bad?
    I don't think he change a lot. He always was sensitive and creative man. Sam focused on this side of his personality. She also show him how to be more efficient. Because Theo was sometimes too dreamy.

    How is Samantha changing?
    She didn't change. She shows us her real face. AI whos learn human behavior and imitate it.

    When she was saying goodbye to Theo, we heard how cold and unemotional she was.

    Also, is this an INFP (Ted) and ESTP (Sam) relationship?
    He is obvious INFP. Sam ESTJ. She is pretend P. As all computers she's very organized and she is a sensor.

    And finally, the inevitable and rather unsettling turn near the end, that momentarily resolves the Ted/Sam relationship while not truly closing the door. It makes you wonder where humanity will be in so many years, where Artificial Intelligence might be
    "A Hong Kong Venture Capital firm have just appointed an Artificial Intelligence as a board member"

    Deep Knowledge Ventures Appoints A.I. Board Member - Geek Magazine

    P.S. soory for grammar

  8. #8
    Senior Member Eluded_One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I most appreciated that the movie really didn't "wuss out" in raising and facing head-on some questions that would naturally come up. Is Samantha a 'real' person? What does 'real' mean? How much of our lives is 'real' to begin with? Where is technology taking us as individuals and a culture? Is jacking in something that will shut off our humanity or will it enable/accentuate it? Is Ted in love with Samantha because she offers an "easier" relationship than one with a flesh-and-blood woman, so it's a cop-out rather than growth opportunity? How is Theodore changing, for good or bad? How is Samantha changing? What are the different needs and strengths and weaknesses for a being not limited to a physical body, versus a being ANCHORED in a physical body? Can this kind of relationship EVER work? No matter how empathetic you are towards AI, there are scenes where your response to Samantha will mirror Ted's -- a very human response.
    There were many philosophical concepts that came up; which was the best part of watching. The future, projected to be a brightly lit one, in turn, was full of contradictions on matters of interpersonal issues.

    However, the whole feel of it, albeit, purposefully bleak, didn't really come off as memorable. It felt much like watching "lost in translation" over again. Unfortunately this time, without the Bill Murray humour.

    Quote Originally Posted by lecky View Post
    I just watched it tonight and I agree Ted was an INFP but Samantha an "ENFP". It was such a great film, was somewhat heartbreaking that Ted's only true love didn't really "exist".
    Although I agree the main character is an INFP, and in particular, the story of far-fetched idealistic partnership is a very common theme for INFP, this is a story that everyone can relate to... maybe not to such a great extent.

    Quote Originally Posted by yeghor View Post
    Samantha is a slut...
    Samantha only did what was natural to her newly found consciousness. The morals of monogamy didn't apply to her, or even if they did, made it even more confusing to her capabilities.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jinn View Post
    He is obvious INFP. Sam ESTJ. She is pretend P. As all computers she's very organized and she is a sensor.
    She's a sensor, really? As in processes information using her five senses? I didn't know that ESTJ's were correlated to systematic machines.
    “If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” -anonymous

  9. #9
    Senior Member yeghor's Avatar
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    Samantha only did what was natural to her newly found consciousness. The morals of monogamy didn't apply to her, or even if they did, made it even more confusing to her capabilities.
    would it make any difference if the genders were switched?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Eluded_One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeghor View Post
    would it make any difference if the genders were switched?
    I don't think it matters at all. I don't understand where you are going with this question.
    “If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” -anonymous

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