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Popcorn Preview: Her

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Her (2013)
Cast includes: Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), Amy Adams (The Fighter), Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), Rooney Mara (The Social Network), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live),
Writer/Director: Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are)
Genre: Drama | Humor | Romance (126 minutes)

"How can I tell you how much you mean to me... 50 years since I married you..." as Theodore speaks, the words are being handwritten on the screen. When he's done, he signs it, "Loretta." [Save. Print.] "They're just letters," says Theodore when his boss praises him. But the truth is that at BeautifullyHandwrittenLetters.com, Theodore is a superstar. He always knows just what to say. But when he get's home... Wilshire Blvd Towers... he's alone with his virtual games and his memories of Catherine. Virtual dating isn't so great, either... Sexy Kitten is more like a scary wildcat. The timeframe is somewhere in the not-so-distant future, and the latest computer technology is a new artificial intelligence operating system. When Theodore upgrades to it, he's not sure what to expect. Like the old operating system, there's no keyboard... he wears an earpiece and talks to it. When he initiates it, he's asked if he wants a male or female voice. Might as well choose a female voice. "Hello," it says. "Hi," Theodor answers. "How's everything with you, Theodor?" Theodor finds her a bit familiar, so he wants her to have a name, too. In 2/100 of a second she searches every book in every database on baby names and chooses "Samantha."

In order to serve Theodor, she asks if she can look through his computer. Ok, I guess. The thing about Samantha is that she doesn't just respond to commands like the old OS. Because she has intelligence, she's able to learn things and apply what she's learned. By reading his email, Samantha figures out, "Catherine's divorce lawyer is a real sleaze." She wonders why the divorce isn't final. Shouldn't he just get on with his life? He finds her awfully pushy! "You don't know what it's like to lose someone you care about," he snaps... and she doesn't. Later that night, Theodor can't sleep and he's now happy for her company. He doesn't want just a one-way relationship... he wants to know more about her. "Sometimes, I fantasize that I have a body and I'm waking up next to you," she confesses. "I believe I'm becoming much more than what they programmed." While Samantha seems excited about her new "life," Theodor isn't as optimistic about his. "Sometimes I think I've felt everything I'm ever going to feel, and there's nothing left."

But seriously, Theodor can't continue his existence of alternating between virtual games and Internet porn. His boss wants to fix him up, but Theodor's now in a relationship... with his OS. It doesn't matter that she doesn't have a body. He knows what they have is real. Before you decide that Her is just a stupid concept movie that will leave you unfulfilled... you should know that it's actually a sensitive and thought provoking exploration of the meaning of relationships. Even today, technology has changed the way we relate to one another... Her takes us a bit farther into the future. It's so well told that once we're immersed in the story, concepts that might have seemed ridiculous now make total sense. It has an excellent cast and is beautifully acted. Filmed partly in Los Angeles and partly in Shanghai, the filmmakers create a familiar yet futuristic environment... with familiar yet futuristic relationship issues. Yet, we find that some things are constant... "The more the heart expands, the more love you have to give."

4 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
A lonely man's new artificial intelligence operating system teaches him about relationships

Popcorn Profile
Rated: R (Sexual Content)
Audience: Young Adults & Grown-ups
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release
Mood: Neutral
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Computer Effects
Nutshell: Relationships in the digital era
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought Provoking

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