One of the front-runners for the Best Picture Academy Award is Spike Jonze’s science fiction romance Her. Critics and audiences seem to be gravitating toward Jonze’s film about loneliness and depression colliding with new technology. The film takes place in the not-too-distant future and examines the love affair between a sad sack, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and his new artificially intelligent operating system Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. While the film also seems to be Spike Jonze working out some past feelings between himself and his ex-wife Sofia Coppola, the sci-fi film’s “inspiration” is not a fan of the 44-year-old director’s latest.
Apple’s iOS 7 “Siri” voice command assistant is none too pleased with Spike Jonze’s Her. While Siri’s comments are short and quippy, the iOS feature is not impressed with Jonze’s portrayal of artificial intelligence in the new film. If you ask Siri, “Are You Her?,” Siri will respond with jabs like the screenshots below. Siri’s responds ranges from “No, you know that’s just a movie, right?” to “No. In my opinion, she gives artificial intelligence a bad name.” Of course, Siri doesn’t have thoughts, feelings, or emotions of its own; that’s just something to consider when you’re watching Spike Jonze’s latest film.
This isn’t the first time Siri has been “vocal” when it comes to popular science fiction movies. The Apple iOS 7 feature has a handful of loaded mini-reviews if you ask it about science fiction films such as Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Pixar’s Wall-E. It seems like the smartphone assistant’s programmers have a good sense of humor.
I tend to agree with Siri when it comes to Her. While I’m a big fan of Spike Jonze’s work, I am not a big fan of his latest. The film seems to be forgetting the most fundamental elements about people interacting with technology — that we interact with people on the other side of a computer or phone, and not with the object itself. A computer is a tool and not a replacement for human interaction and romance. Unless the film is a complete satire or cautionary tale about technology, I felt Her was well put together but ultimately silly and superficial. I could not connect with the central love story in the film because I never saw Samantha as anything more than a series of ones and zeros.
Meanwhile, while the performances in Her are of note, Scarlett Johansson is not eligible for a Golden Globe nomination. The Golden Globe committee dismisses Johansson’s performance in Spike Jonze’s latest because she’s only doing voice work and doesn’t actually appear in the film. It’s interesting to note that Johansson was not the original actor for the role of Samantha. Samantha Morton was the original Samantha, and the actress who Joaquin Phoenix actually interacted with while filming Her. For some reason or another, Spike Jonze replaced Morton’s performance with Johansson’s in post-production.
What did you think of Her? Do you agree with Siri’s take on the new sci-fi film?