This is not a review. This is a love letter.
Spike Jonze's Her was a film I'd been excited for ever since I'd caught wind of its existence. It was Spike Jonze, writing and directing a story about technology and relationships,with promises of sci-fi, romance, comedy and philosophy; of course I was hyped. As good reviews, award nominations and word-of-mouth positivity (aka Twitter) floated over from across the pond (where the film had released a month or so earlier), my anticipation only increased. I must have watched the trailers at least twelve times. I read as many non-spoiler articles and features I could find. I spent hours on YouTube watching old Spike Jonze projects. I even started listening to Arcade Fire, the film's composer. This was going to be the film, you know?
And so I sat in the cinema on Tuesday, waiting for it to finally begin and change my life, when an irritating thought occurred to me. What if I've over-hyped this? What if this is a perfectly good movie, but I still walk out of here disappointed because my bar was set impossibly high? 126 minutes later, that thought had vanished. In its place: How do I even begin to articulate how I feel about this film?
I have sat at this computer for around two hours trying to figure this out. Should I tell you about how well this film assesses our current obsession with technology and our current struggles with interpersonal connection? Or just try to explain how this film doesn't just evoke, but provokes emotions and encourages you to go out and feel something? Maybe I should say how much I connected with the sensitive, struggling soul of Theodore Twombly. Perhaps mention the richness of the world that Spike Jonze has created; vibrant but haunting, truly in tune with the emotional insecurity and ambivalence that the story reflects.... And I need to somehow get across how inspired and hopeful I am because of the story's sheer power. But the more I try to do all these things, the harder they become.
So why not simply do a couple tweets about it? Why not admit that "there are no words" for how good this is?
Because that is even harder.
For me, the two hours I spent last night watching Her felt important. I walked out of Screen 6 looking in one direction: up. With wonderment, I gazed upward. At architecture, at the sky, at ceilings. I was fixated on this vertical axis as I digested everything I had just experienced. When I arrived home, I reached for the usual gadgets to check email, facebook, twitter blah blah... But as I did, I noticed I'd stopped looking up. My reflection in the screen was peering up, but here I was, trying to see who was connecting with me by looking down. I put these gadgets away.
A text. A facebook message, notification or comment. A retweet, favourite or reply. A snap. An email. These are disconnected connections. They miss something vital in the human experience, and Her makes me want to find what that is. Her's message is not that technology is bad. Her's message, like all great art, is within yourself. The reason I am failing to express myself is because to do so requires another disconnected connection through here. The reason I am perfectly expressing myself is because I want to.
I know that I know very little of love, but I found so much meaning in this film about love. Every second I continue to consider it takes me deeper. I want to write essays on this film and screenplays because of this film. I want to go out and experience every emotion possible. I want to know people and I want to know myself.
I didn't over-hype Her. I under-hyped life.
Go see this movie.
This probably made very little sense. It probably wasn't supposed to.