ANALYSIS/REVIEW: ON SPIKE JONZE’S “HER”

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Speculative science-fiction is very fascinating. Often, creative visions of the future entail new visions of transportation, shiny avant-garde and all expansive cityscapes; perhaps artificial intelligence has been perfected as well. Some visions of the future include dystopian nightmares or utopian dreams. Spike Jonze’s Her takes a subtly different approach. Set in an uncannily near future (televisions, computers and smartphones have simply gotten smaller and the cities look a little nicer), the film’s biggest and most important speculation may just be one small detail that may be overlooked by many casual viewers – Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore, makes a living writing personalized letters and messages for and between other people. This little tidbit plays into the larger themes of the film, one that deals with the fact that for every advance in the world and technology that communication between people is forever indispensable but can become a lost art and skill during the development of society. After all, what good are all of these advances in telecommunications if people simply can’t tell one another what’s on their mind, let alone understand each other?

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