Ah, the lows that we reach on a daily basis. The new movie, Her, stars Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely man who “falls in love” with his computer, Samantha. And before I go on, let me ask how this sounds even remotely attractive as the plot of a movie to any thinking person?
It must, I guess, because people are seeing it. And apparently because it’s a love story. Here’s the problem though: Joaquin Phoenix’s character is in love with an artificial intelligence system. Siri, basically. In other words, SHE’S NOT REAL. And that’s what I’m angry about. Her is just one more example of how we’ve come to value disembodied women more than a real live one. You know, ones with a body.
My daughter is under two years old. Thankfully she isn’t asking about Her but someone else’s daughter is. What does that parent, indeed any thinking person say, to their child? “Well, sweetie, the shitty society that we live in values the parts of a woman, particularly the sexy ones, more than the whole. Now let’s sit back and watch the number this particular lesson does on your body image and self-worth.”
When we accept women’s bodies chopped into bits for advertising purposes or their disembodied voices in movies then we accept the fact that we are teaching our children, particularly our girls, that human contact is unimportant. That speaking with someone face to face doesn’t matter. That relationships aren’t valuable. That personal connection is disposable. That empathy is over-rated.
I think Her is indeed a film “…about how we live now, and how we might live in the future,” as LA Times & NPR film critic Kenneth Turan says here. And that’s the very problem…only not in the way that Turan and others seem to see it. And maybe I’m the only one here learning a lesson. (It wouldn’t be the first time.) But next time my husband bursts into laughter at something he’s reading, I’m not going to complain that he’s disrupting my precious work. I may just go in there and give him a kiss. At least I’m not sleeping with my computer.