We didn’t go to the movies on Tuesday this week, instead we caught a ‘last chance to see’ showing of Her in our local theatre. There was quite a low turnout, maybe 20 to 30 people in a 300 seater theatre but it was better than sitting in on a Friday night watching TV and there was wine!
I was warned going into the movie that it was ‘a bit weird’ and I probably wouldn’t like it but didn’t know anything about it. As I’ve said before I prefer to watch a movie and make my own decisions rather than have preconceptions. On booking to tickets I ascertained that the movie was about a man who falls in love with his computer, so I was sort of expecting an awkward comedy.
What we got was something much deeper than that, something that struck a chord in me, something than even now has left me feeling a little uneasy. I came out of the theatre feeling alone and wanting to speak to someone who I’ve lost touch with but who I always enjoyed talking to.
I think anyone who has ever embarked on an internet dating relationship can relate to aspects of this movie. You conduct a relationship with someone that consists of texting and messaging before you get to the stage where you both feel comfortable enough to meet. To a certain degree that relationship is with your computer or phone and not the person on the other end and maybe that was the point of the film.
To remind us how it’s all well and good to interact digitally but it is no substitution for having a conversation face to face with someone and watching them wrinkle their nose when they laugh.
In the movie the operating systems that people become attached to eventually leave and they realise how empty their lives are after losing that interaction. Every time they use their phones or computer they are reminded of the loss. You have the messages saved on your hard drive or phone, not knowing whether to keep them or delete them and over time they slowly get forgotten. In the beginning they are a source of comfort, allowing you to still keep the person close to you even though they no longer want to be there.
So this is what I took from the movie. It was much more than a man falling in love with his computer. It was about the need humans have to find someone who makes them feel understood and special. It was about how easy it can be to find that on the other end of a computer and how painful it can be when you realise it was never real. Because like the operating system you might not be the only one, the internet allows connection between people far and wide.
When something good ends it’s hard to stop wanting to slip back into the old ways. No-one wants to say goodbye to the fun times in their life. You absent-mindedly open your messages and draft out what you were doing that day waiting to hear about their day in return but they stop writing back. Life is tough, meeting people is hard but meeting someone online only for it to never materialise into a human interaction is a strange sort of feeling, in some ways it can feel like you were in a relationship with your computer all along.
It was an interesting film that made you think and went deeper than a superficial review could explain. Watch it and see for yourself what you think the message was. I would recommend it.