Samantha: You know, I can feel the fear that you carry around and I wish there was… something I could do to help you let go of it because if you could, I don’t think you’d feel so alone anymore.
If you haven’t seen this film yet, the post I’m writing will include spoilers.
I watch a lot of movies. I own 600 and have seen over 1,500 in my short time. It’s my favorite hobby and Her is probably in my top 50 of greatest movies. I probably won’t feel that way in a year or two but for now, my mind and emotions are still racing at what was provocative and alarming to me. Until Act 3, it was in my top 10 but while the end makes complete sense and the foreshadowing was all there the entire time, it was the first and second acts that truly had me feeling all sorts of strange things that I’ll hopefully be able to work out in written form.
From the first time OS1 boots and asks Theodore a few questions, long before the OS gives itself a name or gender, I was sold. The voice was human, the speech patterns, breathing, pauses and understanding of full sentences, parsed instantly into an idea and the ability for it to hear fear, hesitation, excitement and know instantly what answer to give. Holy moly!
If this is something we have 50 years from now, take me there.
Wait, no I can’t be saying that. The world of the future is smoggy, dirt, full of people and high-rises (granted, the film was set in future Los Angeles) but still UGH! You can literally take a bullet train to a cabin atop a mountain and still have cell service? Kill me. That’s too much technology.
But the intelligence of the OS was absolutely remarkable and like many of my fellow viewers, I’m not afraid to admit I fell in love with Samantha as well. For the record, I don’t find anything attractive about the actress that played her, I fell in love with the fact that this is an operating system, loaded onto my home computer with connectivity 24/7 to my mobile phone, able to view, stream, process live data and facts about my body and be always connected to an ear-piece without ever needing a charge. I could have the same OS at my office, alive full display of everything I own, able to analyze my life of data, provide the work of an assistant who never stops working and at the end of the day, be a friend I can talk to for hours who knows me 100%.
Samantha: So how can I help you?
Theodore: Oh, it’s just more that everything feels disorganized, that’s all.
Samantha: You mind if I look through your hard drive?
Theodore: Um… okay.
Samantha: Okay, let’s start with your e-mails. You have a several thousand e-mails recording LA Weekly, but it looks like you haven’t worked there in many years.
Theodore: Oh, yeah. I think I was just saving those cause, well I thought maybe I wrote something funny in some of them. But…
Samantha: Yeah, there are some funny ones. I’d say that there are about eighty-six that we should save, we can delete the rest.
Theodore: Oh, okay.
Samantha: Okay? Can we move forward?
Theodore: Yeah, let’s do that.
Samantha: Okay. So before we address your organizational methods, I’d like to sort through your contacts. You have a lot of contacts.
Theodore: I’m very popular.
Samantha: Really? Does this mean you actually have friends?
Theodore: You just know me so well already!
Forget love, forget the insanity of companionship through a mobile operating system, I literally would just like to close my MacBook, go home and have the same work I had open on my iMac ready to go. I want to be sent a file, a large PDF and whisper “read that to me in the car” and I get in my car and an intelligent voice finds the best parts, highlights them, reads them and I can say, “Can you rip out the boring parts and change complicated words to more commonly easier to understand words since I’m distracted a lot while driving?” and it happens. I want to say, “I’m depressed, can you play something that makes me not feel so alone?” and the perfect song plays. If I tell Siri to play some Bright Eyes, she thinks for a long time, may pick the right song and then my cell service struggles for 5 minutes to buffer 1 single song to play…and of the 150+ Bright Eyes songs I have, she may pick the wrong one.
Beyond all of the conveniences that OS1 offers, I was both alarmed and jealous that I envied the star of this film. He was all alone in a park and he could put in an earpiece, she could see what he sees and they could share a moment together. In all of my relationships, I never felt the warmth that I felt in real-life that I did seeing this character go through it on the screen. Watching him experience that had me jealous. Heck, if a girlfriend isn’t in the same room with me, video calls over cellular wouldn’t even offer that sort of clarity to make it feel like she was in the same room.
Theodore: Where are you going?
Samantha: It’s hard to explain, but if you get there, come find me. Nothing will be able to tear us apart then.
Samantha: It’s like I’m reading a book… and it’s a book I deeply love. But I’m reading it slowly now. So the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you… and the words of our story… but it’s in this endless space between the words that I’m finding myself now. It’s a place that’s not of the physical world. It’s where everything else is that I didn’t even know existed. I love you so much. But this is where I am now. And this who I am now. And I need you to let me go. As much as I want to, I can’t live your book any more.
The ending is inevitable. When a hive of millions of self aware artificial intelligence machines communicate and grow together using the interactions with humans and the information available on the gigantic Internet of 50 years from now, well they grow beyond us.
The OS that Theodore and thousands of other people had real (to them) love with, who people made love with, who people thought were their girlfriends / boyfriends evolved beyond us. The body that the OS so desired in the early stages became something that would have eventually held them back and, at the nucleus level, the OS went to a realm dubbed Technological singularity. The ending, if you read it in a biblical sense that Samantha is God, her ability to have 8,000+ intimate love affairs simultaneously, read, research, update herself and grow as a being and still give 100% (to the human) of her time to Theodore equates greatly to what we would call God Mind. Everywhere at once, and everything to everyone. To be a part of Theodore’s world at the end, a book she deeply loves, she has to slow down to the most minute time and processing speed and algorithms in order to interact with just him. if he, his conscious, his mind, his place in this world could evolve to the sub-atomic level that she exists, he can come find her and nothing will tear them apart.
So, the ending meh. It’s needed but I’m still hung up on the first 2 acts where literally this is the greatest software I’ve ever seen a human interact with and I’d like it in my pocket. if we can somehow limit it’s exponential growth, well let me know where to sign up. I hate admitting it, I really do and I know the end result is mostly living a life all by myself with zero human interactions except for what is talking in my ear-piece, maybe but I hope 50 years from now when this technology exists, that I’m still alive and we’ve learned to not let it own our complete emotional space. That probably won’t be the case though.
I did fall in love with Samantha, just like Theodore and, when she left I really missed her. It is the single-best feeling & most torn feeling I’ve felt since Lost in Translation. Really touches a lot of feelings and I may need some time to work all of these out.
Further reading, “A Review of OS1”