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[Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Spike Jonze film Her. This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.]
Kevin: How real do our relationships need to be?
Here's a thought experiment. Think back to when you were a young child. No computer, no phone, and no postal service. The only people you could maintain relationships with were those you could see and touch -- which pretty much meant your immediate family, neighbors, and classmates. That was your entire universe.
What percentage of our relationships today fall under that umbrella? How many of our friends are those with whom we hardly ever share physical space? Does it matter? Should it matter?
With regards to romance, much of the stigma involving online dating has evaporated in recent years. But even if you're contacting folks via the web, you still have to leave your house to set the actual wheels in motion, right? What if you didn't have to leave your house? (Or even put on a clean shirt?) Welcome to the film Her.
In Her, a 2013 Spike Jonze film set in the near-future, Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a sad-eyed romantic who's in the process of getting divorced. One day, he purchases an Operating System with artificial intelligence (Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johannson) and the ability to learn and evolve. The OS is designed to be a personal assistant, but they soon bond, and become... well, more than friends.