A MAN WHO IS A BIT LOST, DAZED (THE EVER FASCINATING JOAQUIN PHOENIX) BEGINS A LOVE AFFAIR WITH HIS COMPUTER, WHICH HAS THE INTRIGUING VOICE OF SCARLETT JOHANSSON. THIS IS THE APPARENTLY SIMPLE PLOT OF HER, THE LATEST WORK OF THAT GIANT OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA, SPIKE JONZE.
A true opportunist who, with the agility of a jaguar, is able to pass from directing masterful films like Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim to co-producing Jackass. Yes, because Spike Jonze is not simply a director with a thousand talents, he is the embodiment of the image of the trendy Made in Los Angeles man: a virtuoso of the skateboard (co-owner of Girl Skateboards) but also a poised and fascinating man who knows how to present himself on the red carpet in an impeccable suit with slightly ruffled hair. In other words, he seems almost too good to be true. But, let’s get back to his latest film, the fascinating and mysterious object that does not belie his fame. Not for nothing did he take home a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the best original screenplay.
Spike Jonze adroitly manages to avoid the trap of sentimentalism without, however, forgetting to permeate his film with just that touch of tenderness, slightly nerd, which plays directly on the emotions. Her is a truly singular, revealing and dramatic foretaste of a society that is egoistic and, to some extent, “sterile”, that prefers to communicate through the reassuring screen of a computer rather than face to face. Theodore, the protagonist of Her, has few friends and a failed marriage behind him. Nothing very exciting in prospect except for his “cybernetic lover”, Samantha, the artificial voice created by his computer which, in his mind, is transformed into a flesh and blood woman, as seductive and captivating as a siren.
The people around him begin to ask themselves about his behaviour, which they sometimes find incomprehensibly romantic (a sexless romanticism), but also sad and disquieting. This concentration of contrasting emotions makes Spike Jonze’s latest work psychologically complex and riveting.
Human contact, that which warms and arouses passions, has now gone out of fashion, like flared trousers or shoulder pads (even if the latter could still be open to discussion)? What remains, could, perhaps, be called virtual desire, a desire that is, somehow, inaccessible. Andy Warhol had already lauded the advantages of this genre of “love” affair, as the only way of keeping interest alive and fanning the flame. We shall see!