Every now and again there is comes along a movie that disappoints, not on content but because it shows off everything that science fiction can do and then gets put into the bucket called niche market. This is what happened to Her, in my neck of the woods at least. Where Gravity with all its whiz bang effects and Sandra Bullock heavy breathing got the wide market play, Her was screened in Art house cinemas. Yet Her is not only way more relevant to the world we live in it asks questions we are ridiculously close to asking ourselves in real life.
Her tells a simple love story, boy falls in love with girl. That is where the complications start, because the girl is virtual and we never get to see her. Where big budget sci-fi would take this into an effects laden world of the computer, Her brings the computer to ours. She is part Siri, part HAL, funny, provocative and in her own way sexy. While that could get more than a little wierd, Spike Jonze keeps it to the point, what do relationships look like in this new world of technology, where do we find connections and what happens when a computer wants to go on self improvement drive.
I really hope her takes out academy awards, it would be a huge vindication for the medium of Science Fiction as a valid storytelling device and hopefully offer a grown up alternative to the dumbed down big effects fare that bring in the big bucks but drag down the genre as a serious medium.
There are some faults, the realisation of Samantha is inconsistent and the logic of the progression of the AIs while idealistic and fine for storytelling purposes is not entirely consistent with the world we know.
Still, it’s not meant to answer every question but to shine a mirror back at us and asks the most poignant question of all.
What would you do?