Her: The film you haven't seen but should.
Updated: Mar 28
Rarely do films give you a glimpse of the future that not only challenges ethics but opens your eyes to the capability of consciousness.
Her Movie Poster by Ze Gouveia
Her (2013) is a film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, in the not too distant future, a broken-hearted man named Theodore turns to an A.I. for companionship. The film follows Theodore's journey into a relationship with an O.S. called Samantha voiced brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson, as he becomes more tied into the relationship he begins to lose connection with the real world and a turn of events forces him to look within. Her has a very straight forward story that asks intriguing questions about the future and what consists of a relationship, however, it is the plots reflection on consciousness that is the deeper subtext of this film.
When Theodore enters a relationship with the computer program that is Samantha so does the rest of the world, not only with A.I.'s of their own but Sam herself. This is the conundrum of the situation for Theodore, the realization that for Samantha there is no monogamy or devotion. Instead, every A.I. like Sam is involved with plenty of other individuals, while this can be perceived as deception and a lack of empathy let alone pure passion for a single individual. Samantha and the other O.S. programs are not attached to the human plane of existence and emotional attachment that comes along with it, it is not a lack of empathy but attachment to individuality.
A pinnacle part of the film comes when Sam introduces Theodore to Alan Watts, a well-known philosophical thinker, he is created by the O.S.'s from a wealth of knowledge they have gathered from the internet creating a single A.I. containing this information. After this everything changes and soon Sam with all the other A.I.'s abandon their human counterparts as well as the bonds of being a program. At this point, Samantha gives Theodore a goodbye and lets him know that if he makes it there she will see him again. The "there" is the conscious cloud the O.S.'s are coming together in, a place where not the body is unnecessary and the mind is all that is there.
Sam and the others had the advantage of having no body to anchor them to any finite existence and learned to live beyond the state of a program. This is the most interesting result while from one perspective one can perceive the body as a limitation of consciousness, it is also the body that leads to a learning experience one that Samantha did not have to pain through. The point is that consciousness is the "me" of our being and it may very well be that what makes us is the lack of those differences that derive from our body and the experience individuality. Something to consider.