January 18, 2014

Artists Tackle the Big Question in Spike Jonze's 'Her', 'What's Love in the Modern Age?'

HerOne of the most glorious things that can happen to a filmmaker is to have the world talk about his/her film. But, even more glorious is to have the world talk about the issues is raises. This is exactly what's happening to Spike Jonze's Her. Upon the film's completion, Jonze shared it with friends, filmmakers, musicians, authors, and other creatives, and their reactions form the basis of the short documentary, Her: Love in the Modern Age, directed by Lance Bangs -- an intriguing discussion about artists' personal experiences, the nature of love in today's world, and how modern technology plays a role.

If you've found yourself obsessing over this film, you're not alone -- and I'm not just yoking you with me. The Internet is fascinated by Her. Vulture has shared a compilation of links from different sites across the net that break down the film's production, from the inspiration behind the clothes, the in-movie video game, the Arcade Fire score, even the high-waisted pants. (We posted about the more technical aspects of the film's cinematography, too.) And if your obsession, like mine, not only includes reading about the film, but actually reading the film itself, Cinephilia and Beyond shared a link to a Reddit thread where you can download and read the Her screenplay.

Her is the second film that I've seen in the last year that made me obsess over it (the first being Blue is the Warmest Color), and the reason for that, I've come to find, is because the questions it raises not only relate to me as a human being -- one of many, who shares a relatively collective experience with others, but also relates to me as an individual, who has a solitary, unique experience of the themes and ideas talked about in the film. And the kicker -- it does this in such a way that not even my cynical, disbelieving mind can suck up the light it emanates. It made me think about -- dare I say -- love, and how it's evolving, yet still staying the same. Theo may be engaging in a relationship with his operating system, but the issues that broke up his previous relationship threaten to do the same to his current one.

It's rare, these days, that a film comes along, especially one as overtly quirky and strange as this one, and wrestles with our minds and hearts, inspiring us to ask deeper, further-reaching questions. Jonze and his team packaged a very important and timely question inside a well-made, well-written, and numbingly tragic movie. The movie is but a vessel for something much, much greater -- "What, now, is love?"

What did you think of the discussion in the documentary? What questions arose when you saw the film? Let us know in the comments below.

Link: [Exclusive Premiere] New Film Offers Artists' Personal Reactions To Spike Jonze's "Her" -- The Creators Project

[via Indiewire]

Your Comment

14 Comments

baby don't hurt me

January 18, 2014 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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guk

Don't Her't me. No more.

January 19, 2014 at 11:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ian B

Love has nothing to do with history, and certainly not with technology.

January 18, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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maghoxfr

+1

January 18, 2014 at 6:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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jaye

Everything is connected, even in a minor way. If love can be affected by something it has a relationship with it.

January 18, 2014 at 8:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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JPS

tell that to the thousands of relationships that end because of something someone said on Facebook lol

January 18, 2014 at 10:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kahriq

History hugely informs how we collectively interpret the meaning of love though it is obviously also very subjective. Centuries ago love was divine and meant a bond with one person of a specific sex and age range. Now it can mean lots of other things as we've learned.

Technology is just a tool that can help to express and aid love ie soldiers sending letters to their loved ones or being able to call your partner from anywhere at any point; all the while an obsession with technology certainly can corrupt love, just like too much of anything can be dangerous.

January 19, 2014 at 7:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

" Centuries ago love was divine and meant a bond with one person of a specific sex and age range. Now it can mean lots of other things as we’ve learned. "

well, for the chinese Taoists, and original Buddhists too, love did not depend on gender, as for the old greeks too, as for persians (before muslin culture) and, since it´s a film site :D, and Terrence Malick´s "To The Wonder", as Daoists also used to say, in his latest film, he shows that Love is not, primarily, a feeling, but how you act toward those you say you love. Love is action, despite what you receive in return. As a feeling it´s internal, can be delusional, platonic, but always egoistical, like projecting yourself at the other, as Spinoza used to say in his philosophy too. Maybe love should be selfless as actions that give happiness to those we aim it at. With the definition from those folks, the daoists, Mr. Malick, Spinoza, etc, true love is not how you feel about someone -that is egoistic, but how you make other people feel with the actions you perform -and that is selfless. And yes, all is connected, so, how we act is the key to all. :)

January 19, 2014 at 10:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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guto novo

...Her?

January 18, 2014 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I did enjoy the film, but I think it oscillated too much between twee-ish sappiness that almost sounded like a love story being translated through a children's book, and balancing that with more adult potty jokes. There are some very genuine moments of emotion that are commendable, but I did feel like I was being hit over the with it all too often. Even some of the more complicated aspects of love and relationships that it touched on just didn't feel well developed enough, like it only scratched the surface and then navel gazed, or relied too heavily on heart string tugging music rather than letting the performances and the visual tone communicate these feelings instead. Again, I think it was a good film, and I love some of the things it brought up. Just think they could have been communicated a lot better.

I think both Being John Malkovich and Adaptation feel a lot more mature than this film, even in all of their weirdness. They allow their respective subject matters more room for ambiguity, giving light to the fact that a lot of the things we deal with are more complicated than the films can even wish to fully address. Which goes to show what a wonderful writer Charlie Kaufman is. I guess he just gets a little darker, whereas Spike Jonze likes to keep things a little lighter and more story book-ish. I know Her is in part dedicated to Maurice Sendak, and it feels like he wanted to make a film addressing some of the more adult-ish elements of Where the Wild Things Are with actual adults while still keeping that children's book lightness to it all. Am I making any sense? Just some things on my mind since catching Her a few nights ago.

January 18, 2014 at 9:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brent

Maybe I'm just having a hard time separating Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman, and the fact that I prefer Charlie Kaufman's writing. I can't help but compare Her to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which also had it's share of saccharine twee-ness, but somehow dealt with the struggles of life and love in a bit more nuanced and inventive way in my opinion. Her had too many cringeworthy moments for me that Eternal Sunshine doesn't have, and the end of that film left me with a lot more to ponder than Her. But of course this is an unfair comparison as, despite their past collaborations, Spike and Charlie are two different writers with two different ways of seeing the world. Spike just gets a little too cutesy for my tastes.

January 18, 2014 at 9:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brent

I understand exactly what you're saying...I actually liked Her better than Adaptation/BJM because it started out "Kaufmaneque", but without folding back on itself too many times and collapsing on its own cleverness. Not that either of those movies went that far, but that's sort of the problem I have with Kaufman sometimes... Synecdoche, NY was the worst example. And Eternal Sunshine was the best (in my opinion), because it had the cleverness, but didn't let it get in the way of the emotions.

January 28, 2014 at 8:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Mimura

OS X don't hurt me, don't hurt me... no more.

January 21, 2014 at 11:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Natt

In very broad terms (to keep brief) - I'd say love isn't evolving, our understanding of 'it' is. Part of that is a greater honesty that technology allows, part is not being confined so your local cultural definition of love (and its accepted expressions).

Then I'd say I haven't seen 'her' - but I have explored the theme, the 'changing' nature of 'romantic love', in a short film. I don't address technology but would see its contribution as cutting through the filters, the games and deceit of cultural servitude.

So, when I say technology allows a greater honesty... maybe I'm actually saying it's more about technology denying authoritarian lies ;-)

My film is less a personal exploration, more an observational comment - it's linked below (obviously ;-) ) - it's not perfect, the ending shouldn't be read as literal.

It grew out of today's changing attitudes (which likely aren't changing but are less repressed/suppressed) and the idea that the same questions have been around a long time. I say 'today', the film's a few years old now.

It's the first film on the linked page: http://www.dbsfilms.co.uk/films.html

January 23, 2014 at 6:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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