Front Row at the Movies
“Her” Provides Siri Substitute
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Do you have an iPhone? Y’ know, one of the newer models that has Siri, a helpful artificial intelligence female who apparently lives inside your phone. She’s one smart cookie, able to tell you the nearest place to buy pizza, guide you on your trips, make phone calls for you, look up things, act as a secretary who reminds you of appointments. She can even converse, after a fashion.
But don’t get too close.
Siri’s even programmed to say, “My end user licensing agreement does not include marriage.”
In “Her” -- the new sci-fi romance playing at Tropic Cinema -- a guy named Theodore Twombly gets a new, advanced operating system for his phone. Promising to be an intuitive entity that individualizes itself for each user, the Siri-like voice is called Samantha.
Twomby (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely guy, moping over the breakup with his wife. Turns out, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) is kinda lonely in that little hard-shell case too. A relationship develops. You might consider it a new form of phone sex, just him and his smart phone.
Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde provide the flesh-and-blood women in this film. Scarlett Johansson was being talked up for an Academy Award, but rules require that more than just an actor’s voice has to appear on-screen to be nominated. Bummer.
Director-writer Spike Jonze got the idea for the movie about ten years ago when he read an article about instant texting with artificial intelligence. Supposedly, the more you talked with it, the smarter it got. Whoa!
If you ask Siri, “Do you love me?” she will reply, “Let’s just say … you have my utmost admiration.”
But if you persist, Siri will admit, “Well, you’re definitely starting to grow on me.”
So will “Her.”
As Spike Jonze concludes, “A lot of the feelings you have about relationships or about technology are often contradictory.” Yeah, women are definitely like that.