Precious Bodily Fluids

Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)


Something must be a “satire” if it’s somewhere between difficult and impossible to suspend disbelief. (This is the case with that great satire, Dr. Strangelove.) With Her, the futuristic trajectory of where we are now is something a little different, since it teeters in that fearful space between satire and prophecy. Technologically, the film quits swooning over technology, like tech companies encourage us to do, and simply places us in the next phase, one in which human-machine relationships are a little more mainstreamed than they are right now. If Marshall McLuhan was right that the medium is the message (and he was), then there’s something dead-on about this. Here, the medium is no longer merely the conduit for our desire, the window into another, perhaps pornographic world, but the medium itself becomes the object of our desire. This is precisely what Theodore wants and, ironically, not what Samantha, his computer program, wants. She tries to persuade him to use a surrogate partner to allow them to be intimate in a more physical way. He goes into it reluctantly and calls it off practically before it’s started. It just doesn’t feel right, he says. He no longer wants to treat Samantha as a means to another consummated end. He wants consummation with “her” and her alone. The film seems to illustrate the ultimate impossibility of Theodore’s desire, since the desire of “her” cannot be fulfilled through “him.” During virtual sex with her, the image blacks out. Why? Are we in a virtual space, consistent with the virtual act they are attempting to commit? If we see only Theodore, there is no Samantha, and we can’t properly “see” Samantha, so the image goes to black. Lots of flashbacks, too, and most or all of them are silent.

This entry was published on September 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm. It’s filed under 2010s Cinema, American film and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)

  1. Now, I’m more open to watching it. Glad to read what you think about recent/current film.

  2. Fantastic read. Can’t believe I only found this page now.

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