18 October 2015

Her And The Awkwardness Of Life

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I have always written my own love letters when trying to woo a potential suitor. To save time, I generally just email a photograph of my cock with a question mark written on in marker pen! Set in the not too distant future, Her tells the story of a twitchy loner played by Joaquin Phoenix who makes his living from faking other peoples emotions by writing love letters on their behalf. Despite being so sensitive and kind however, he is currently going through a painful divorce which is of course all the stupid fucker deserves for being dumb enough to get married in the first place. Did I mention that I'm a romantic? As such he begins a relationship with an operating system that lives in both his phone and computer. Because clearly it's a good idea to start a relationship with a woman that you can't hide your internet history from. This is a world in which we seem to have figured out how to create artificial intelligence with his mobile-girlfriend being played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson. This might sound mildly impressive, but if I had a choice of dating Johansson's voice without her body, or her body without her voice, this isn't the way round I'd probably go for.

The film is directed by Spike Jonze who some will know as an artsy director of well respected music videos and others will know as the producer of Jackass. So whether he's making Christopher Walken fly about to Fat Boy Slim or ensuring that there's enough money to film Johnny Knoxville getting kicked in the bell-end, he's always giving the people what they want. In terms of films, this is his fourth feature after the modern classic of Being John Malkovich and Where The Wild Things Are, which was the most terrifying fucking kids movie of all time. In fact, the only family film I've seen that was possibly scarier than that was probably Labyrinth and that's only because of the permanently visible bulge of David Bowie's cock and bollocks. In the grand scheme of things however I'd say that I am quite a big fan of Jonze with his brilliantly meta film Adaptation being reason enough alone to love him. That film is so far the only thing to realise that if one Nicholas Cage is great, then having the horse-faced weirdo play twins is an idea so brilliant that it's up there with the creation of the wheel, the discovery of fire, and the decision to charge money for heroin.

Having seen and loved all of his previous work, I can say that Her is a worthy addition to Jonze's filmography and yet another example of why our society is fucked. As it is right now, most people don't speak to people in real life, with a survey revealing that nintey-eight percent of all global conversations actual take place over Facebook. That's a statistic that I just made up off the top of my head, but like David Cameron sticking his knob in a dead pigs mouth, it's a statement that is frighteningly believable. As a terminally-single male, I can tell you that finding a member of the vagina'd gender is as laborious as applying for a fucking job. Sure I could dress up nice and smart, go out to a club, bust some moves on the dance floor, make eye contact with a girl, realise nobody likes me, and then hire a prostitute on the way home. But as a world-hating misanthrope who suffers from a crippling amount of existential anxiety, I think that attempting to pull a woman in the flesh sounds about as fun as using Tabasco sauce to lubricate my anus before fudding myself off with a cactus. 'Dating' is all about talking to people online now, with a friend's brother actually finding the love of his life whilst enjoying an online pirate game with a fat woman that decided to get her tits out. Like all great Sci-Fi films, Her does a brilliant job of holding a mirror up to present day by revealing how fucking lonely and isolating our always-online world is becoming. All the film does is simply replace the anonymous stranger at the end of your online conversation with a computer generated fake person and the process is depressingly identical.

Obviously by being about what romance is like in a world that revolves around the internet, there's one big thing that Her needs to address. Johansson's Operating System doesn't have a body and obviously boyfriends and girlfriends occasionally like to make each other squirt their love-juices at each other. Therefore the only way that Phoenix and his disembodied girlfriend can bang is by simply telling each other what they're doing to each other whilst simultaneously fapping off. Essentially this is the film's satirical look at cyber and/or phone sex, but fuck me it was an ordeal to watch. As a scene I understand why it had to be included in the film. It shows how the couple's relationship actually worked and was a definitive moment in the operating system's awakening. However, I watched this film on my own and so like every sex scene in every film ever, I can't help but feel I'd have been massively judged by anybody who overheard. They don't know I'm busy viewing a well-reviewed film about humanity's relationship with technology and each other, all they'd have heard is two people loudly shagging. Whenever sex scenes like this come on in movies, I simply console myself with two facts... Firstly, if I actually was knocking one out to some porn then I probably wouldn't have such little shame that I'd hook the thing up to my fucking surround-sound, and secondly, would they really think that I watch such high-class porn that it stars people like Scarlet Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix?! Unless Hollywood suddenly finds a need for dead-eyed heroin addicts from an oppressed part of Eastern Europe then I can assure you that this is not the case.

However, although this film and its decision to include an uncomfortably long sex scene may be the reason that my neighbours avoid me, I can't say that I didn't think Her wasn't great. The film might have a good sense of humour, but it takes its subject seriously and questions exactly what love is. Is Phoenix's fondness for his girlfriend any less legitimate than that of the real human couples who are so unable to express their own feelings that he has to write their love letters for them? And even so, presuming that he's happy with his relationship then does anything else matter? Surely the individual's ability to experience joy and comfort should take priority over any standards or enforced aspirations from the miserable society they live in. Even now there are parts of the world in which gay couples are looked down upon for daring to be born with a different taste in genitals than what a homophobic and fictional God intended. Perhaps the only thing we need to do in this lonely universe is find one small thing that makes us happy and cling tightly onto it as life does it's best to fuck us into the grave.

At the same time as all of this, the film also looks at the thought process of Johansson's Operating System and questions what it must be like to be a manufactured entity that's been programmed with humanity. I think it's a fucking curse as it is and so I can't even imagine how bad it'd be without the consoling thought that one day you'll die. This concept has of course been addressed in things such as Blade Runner, Ex Machina, and AI: Artificial Intelligence, but rarely is it applied to a light romantic comedy. Although, if Renee Zellweger's face is anything to go by then I suspect there may be an element of artifice to the next Bridget Jones film. Unsurprisingly, the mobile-girlfriend finds it confusing to be both a hyper-intelligent machine and a love-struck, bodiless fembot. The genius of the film however is that at no point do you doubt her relationship with Phoenix's character. In fact I found their connection to be more believable than most couples in some of the more mainstream romantic movies. I mean, have you seen Pretty Woman? It's about a rich man falling in love with his prostitute and yet it doesn't end with her wrapped up in a carpet, decomposing in a swamp and without her head. In fact the couple in Her are pretty much like most couples in real life with the male being in a relationship to give his life a meaning and the female being in one despite it being the complete opposite of her common sense.

Do I recommend that you check this film out if you haven't already? Of course I do. As low-fi and romantic-sci-fi-comedy films from celebrated music video directors go, I'd say it's second only to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. And that's not just because I can't think of any other fucking film that fits that description. It's both a rom-com with a brain and a sci-fi with a heart, which is more than can usually be said for both of those genres. The end is probably a little bit weirder than I was expecting it to be, but without ruining anything, it deserves credit for putting into perspective the joke in Clerks in which Dante is upset about his girlfriend having sucked off thirty-six cocks. Like all great sci-fi movies it mirrors our contemporary times brilliantly with its relatable, grim depiction of our lonely quest for love, and our inevitable march towards the creation of artificial intelligence. Descartes famously said “I think, therefore I am” as proof of our existence, but Johansson's operating system thinks too. So now, sure you might be able to think, but what exactly the fuck are you? I started this blog by saying that I was a romantic with existential angst.. Having seen this film I now can't even be completely sure that I'm a fucking human. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.

You can visit the blog picture artist at _Moriendus_

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