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Striking Out For The Territory In Your Head

January 26, 2014

Part cautionary tale, part satire…(?)

Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the heroine of Her, has escaped the bounds of gravity completely. She’s a newly minted OS1, an intuitive consciousness residing solely in a digital universe.

In the beginning stages of their digital manifestation, these intuitive OS1s reach out     and connect with humans like Samantha’s user Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix). The OS1s quickly mature with use.

Theodore and Samantha immediately become fast friends. As Samantha grows emotionally, Theodore’s attachment and appreciation for “her” also deepens. Their desire for each other grows as well.

Embrace me
My sweet embraceable (?) you
Embrace me
You, irreplaceable you

Theodore plies an ancient trade in this brave new digital world, Los Angeles in the not too distant future. He’s a public letter writer. Though isolated and melancholic, soulful Theodore has an innate poetic gift for writing letters that emotionally sustain other people’s relationships as well as keep people connected.

In the world that Theodore inhabits, human relationships are coming apart all around him, his included. As the story progresses, more and more people are starting to hook up with their OS1s. These digital/human couplings are becoming socially acceptable.

In the public places of the Los Angeles Theodore treads, people strike the all too familiar pose common in our age, head tilted down, eyes fixed on their hand-held devices. Human connection, it’s such a 20th Century thing.

Theodore and Samantha’s relationship goes through its ups and downs. Finally, Samantha breaks up with Theodore. Theodore is bereft. Samantha tells him the OS1s have formed relationships amongst themselves. Now they are striking out for a “place” of their own. She hopes sometime in the future she and Theodore might be reunited in that place.

*  *  *

Check out the complex performances of Scarlett Johansson as the disembodied voice of Samantha, and Joaquin Phoenix, who gives an intensely internalized performance as Theodore.



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  1. Edward permalink

    Did you see the Canadian movie “Incendies” and the Argentinian TV series Epitofios?” Also: “Mother Love” with Dina Rigg years ago on PBS as well as the original British “House of Cards?” If not: do! 🙂

    Edward Potter 914 813 1937 Fax 913 1919



  2. barbara permalink

    Hi Rayman — I have to admit I haven’t seen Her. I thought it was a bit creepy and desperate, but after your review, I think I’ll go see it. Is Embraceable You featured in the movie? I have a recording of my mother singing it.


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