Saturday, February 15, 2014


Her (2013) Poster

Seldom, do we come across films that shake fundamental, taken-for-granted feelings...makes you sit back..debunk and question everything around you as you introspect to understand the limits of your evolution.

More often than not, movies are treats- an isoceles trapezium of seeing and believing - the two states of ok-plateaus, with equidistant slopes of connect and disconnect. Yet, there are some comets that fly and crash into your universe - whose starburst, makes you quite ill at ease.

One such radiance was the movie I watched yesterday- Her. Yes, I have been in love with Amy Adams, ever since American Hustle and Her spiked my interest meter by Her inclusion solely. Yet, as the movie progressed, it lived up to my continual search for insights on men and masculine behavioral codes. Further highlighted, the movie also beautifully fit the paradox of relationships- the duality of "hold on" or "let go" that runs synchronous to every relationship as the degree remains challenged.

The movie in a crux, is about a lonely writer (Theodore)- who beautifies others' lives with his words, yet is unable to strike resonance with the woman he loves, through his words merely. He is seen as the guy which cries too, which is looked down upon by social conditioning - hence he seeks an understanding not mete out to him mostly.

The movie, begins with futuristic technology, with computers and phones responding to voice commands, and all talk directed to screens only.

In fact, to me, it seemed, like a melancholic (perhaps choleric) take on loneliness as each floated in his own bubble- carefree of crowd, careless of society yet cautious of individual space. Monologues were redefined to be a lifestyle - where the art of talking selves became a survival tool kit. It was a world characterized with a sharply evolved AI slowly reaching a state of being & an organic whole, with fast losing emotions and quite crystallized into a means-to-end, compartmentalized living - with the LCDs shining bright. In fact, the quest for 'spiritual orgasm' in any one's life, may also lie belied, as the film encompasses the blurred lines of an inner voice being reflected in the outer world.

 On his last leg of divorce, he is unable to let go of memories that tie him to the physicality of her and yet her holds onto the last remnants of hopes- that love cannot be relinquished. My take- is it a duty then?

It's at this point, that he comes across Samantha- who, quite literally. is the girl of his dreams, and he embarks on his journey with his OS. Samantha, is what every man desires - emotional, funny, reliant, insightful, full of life, dreamy and most of all not emotionally needy (read clingy).

Yet, the progress of her chippy DNA , defies the complexity of 'speed and time' and she becomes 'human' with our normal plethora of emotions, feelings and other such jargons.

She realizes her 'need' for him, falls in love as she takes care of him and can understand his mental vibrations- through which she adjusts her tonality and stance.

Slowly, the protagonist, too finds himself falling in love with the voice - as he gets accustomed to her constant doting care. But Samantha, a fully blossomed woman now, however, is conflicted due to her inability to 'show' herself - as she lacks a body presence.

The movie, at this point, challenges the notions of love - is it body-centric / visual or the connect is purely mental. When we love someone, how important does body become to us? What is the role of body in one's life, then? What are feelings ? Are they preconditioned programmings that we have to live with?

Love, plays the role of a 'chinese bamboo' or wither away when the body refuses to co-operate / reciprocate needs?

What demarcates the divide or confluence of emotional and sexual energies from  the whole panorama of love? Which prioritizes and holds stead - and why, indeed ?

Theo struggles with these definitions too, as the director shows him withdrawing from Samantha. But he bounces back - when he realizes his tussle with form versus essence - and chooses the latter it is genuinely sought to 'understand' him, matching his wavelengths- thereby creating a resonance.

More fundamentally, it highlights the stark fact of technology out-pacing human thought - and out-thinking humans, in the most primate of all emotions. Chemistry, becomes a subject of Physics as subjective Biological  Emotions remain objectified.

The movie then goes onto show how Samantha, wanted to please her man, through a surrogate body, failing, Samantha being able to accept herself as just a voice, getting social acceptance among Theo's friends and finally flowing in love.

Yet a jarring note comes, when Theo, cannot let go of his human ( or humane ???) traits. Once, quite distraught over Sam's 'disappearance' he sits at a metro station and slowly observes others carrying the same device, with the same expressions- all lost in their bubbles.

When Sam admits to being the same for 8000 plus people and feeling the same for 641 people, the sinewy fingers of 'jealousy', 'possessiveness' and 'mine' pervades- making him edgy.

Samantha, too withdraws and after a while, vanishes from his life- as do other OS devices from others' lives- like Amy Adam's for example.

Amy, had been married to a man for 8 years, who decided to split over a petty fight. The fight was about a trend that habit and familiarity had set in. It's often said, that with time, the same qualities that enamor, also serve to irritate. But the movie also showed, that habits can be changed through technology as life becomes a game of winning points - do the right moves, get the right points.

Is it all calculations, then, this game of love- love for one another, as a sister, parent, wife, girl friend and finally a friend.

Is technology so superior that it's flawless? Can trust be more profound, in such a strata then - that all actions would indeed have an equal and opposite reaction ? Shall we not trust sense and sensibility- but only be sensitized to devices that are sensitive to needs?

Amy finds solace, in her female vox-ed device. Surprisingly, they show her OS as a friend, which she perhaps had abstained from - while floating in her rosy wedded bloom.

She must have had the unexpressed desire to be a mother too- as they show both Theo and her playing a game of being a 'class mom' and finally that being one of her de-stressing acts when she's done the right move to the be right mom.

Technology is an emotional surrogate then?

Yet when her OS disappears, she is drawn closer to Theo - as they both remain shocked at the void. Thereby the movie, much to my chagrin, floats back to embrace the stereotypical norm of humans being there for other humans. It's  literally 'back to earth' with a bang.

Why show a path, unless it's followed through? Why retract and be spineless? Why the fear to be avant garde, through and through?

Despite the poor ending, the movie challenged my thinking and I found myself questioning the very bond of commitment.

It challenged my notion of share and care- Theo could not 'share' her but she could be herself with him as well as others - all in her full capacity- which to human ears is unbelievable.

A surprising odd truth, Sam did spell out at this juncture- as an OS, her heart can expand and accommodate more, as she would learn to love more. But for humans, the habits are selfish- one waits for "heart to fill up" to proclaim true love and hence cannot share- 'coz there's not much to share there, really.

Love is not really selfless for us - it's as much as self can sustain with. To be profound, one must have mind over heart and let eyes rove over the unseen, yet known.

Maybe the physics book, too complex to follow through -"Know the Known" - could well be an insight to human behavior than a Linda Goodman and her Stardust.

In the end, though a poorly crafted end, the movie IS about love - but a radical take on it- which is actually a sign of our times and definitely NOT deviant- but the fact that it might spur human extinction, could have propounded it's shallow sign-off. got me thinking... and I shall add more.. as I chew on it more..

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