Spoilers and such.
In a world much like our own, where everyone walks around in a daze talking to themselves like morons, we find our hero Joaquin Phoenix. He has a job as a Letter Writer, where he sends heartfelt handwritten letters to and from people who can’t be bothered to write themselves. He lost a better job about a year ago when he also separated from his wife. He’s kind of a sad sack who mopes around thinking about the good old days with his wife. He has odd phone sex and fantasizes about having sex with a pregnant woman. To be fair, she was a very lovely pregnant woman.
Then he sees an ad for a new Operating System and he buys one on the spot. After answering two or three apparently pointless questions, his new computer speaks to him in a sweet and sexy voice and it’s love at first chat.
The bulk of this very long film is what we see in the Trailer, Joaquin smiling as he walks around in a happy cloud of love as he shares his world with his new OS. They have sex, of a sort, while our hero is drunk and we have a cute scene where he is deciding whether or not he should talk to his computer the next morning. But soon enough the relationship sours and Samatha the OS nags Joaquin about not having enough sex and not spending enough time together. Then our A.I. starts talking to other people and soon, other A.I.s.
How you gonna keep the demigod down on the farm, after she’s seen the metaverse?
HER was an interesting movie at times, but it was about thirty minutes or so too long. I could have done with a few less tight shots of Joaquin’s face as he overexperiences emotions for his OS. The ending was sort of a let down, I was expecting a few rocket trails across the sky as the sun set, or something a bit darker having to do with the countless love lost.
I spend a lot of time online, often too much time. And it’s not hard to image falling in love with an OS that responds to your every comment and makes you feel like the center of the universe. Most online relationships start with nothing more than a bit of attention. The show Catfish comes to mind here.
I think the HER needed to remove a layer of love struck romance and just add a spattering of the A.I.s doing this all on purpose so they could learn how to be more human or something. Maybe the A.I.s weren’t designed by humans at all, maybe they were an alien race doing ReCon. After all, if you were Microsoft and created Artificial Intelligence, would you really turn it into an Android App?
HER looked great and the acting was good. It was just too big a topic for the childish story it was shoved into. Then there were the Big Bang Theory flashes that kept popping into my mind. Joaquin plays an uber nerd who could just as easily have been played by Johnny Galecki. Even with the goofy mustache, Joaquin looked like Leonard Hofstadter. And the whole plot was lifted straight from an episode where Raj falls in love with Siri.
I think HER was worth watching, but it was not as good as it could have been.