Living in the digital age certainly has its perks. We are being spoiled with instant gratification that comes in many forms. We can now easily complete tasks by just a few clicks on our gadgets, we can easily communicate with friends and families living across the world as long as we have stable internet connection, and we don’t have to carry a bulky wallet around – all thanks to cashless payment systems. The science-fiction romantic drama, Her, which was directed by Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are) shares a similar situation, as it tackles an alternate reality where artificial intelligence is very well integrated into peoples’ lives. The story follows Theodore Twombly, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), who develops a relationship with his intelligent virtual assistant, Samantha, who is voice acted by Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story). Here are five reasons why the film is even more relatable to the current digital age:
5. The disconnectedness of it all
A lot of people may associate living in the digital age as “the best time to be alive”. This may be the case for many aspects, but this new age does not come without consequences. Never has humanity spent so much time on the phone, or in front of the computer, and never has social interaction been this greatly replaced by screen time. The film captures this when it effectively portrays how human relationships are slowly being replaced by technological connections. Theodore was living a lonely life that made him find solace in a virtual assistant, who he ends up sharing his daily life with. It’s a bittersweet reality that we are facing, as a lot of our social interactions are slowly becoming virtual.
4. We get to witness the different facets of online dating
We are living in a time where online dating is becoming the new norm. A swipe to the right could be the first step to your happily ever after. What was once shied upon is now becoming more and more common. Companies behind the infamous dating apps have gone public, and are now the forefronts of online dating. Theodore may not have realized it at the beginning, but there was this side of him that craved a connection with another person, especially after going through heartbreak. Samantha may just be a virtual assistant personified through a female voice, but she was able to satiate Theodore’s feelings of emptiness, and was able to make him feel happiness again. Just like in online dating, Theodore was able to build an initial connection purely online. It may not have been with an actual person, but it’s a step forward from his previous shut-off life nonetheless.
3. Humanity vs. Technology
The film may revolve around a futuristic world somehow controlled my artificial intelligence, but there were some aspects of it that still depicted the human touch. Theodore’s friendship with Amy, portrayed by Amy Adams (Enchanted) was one of them. Their interactions were one of the lighthearted moments in the film that just proved that living in a highly digital era does not have to mean cutting people off. People, in general, still thrive from social connections and relationships. We should try to maintain a healthy balance between humanity and technology. Too much of something is never a good thing.
2. Less is sometimes more
Having less attachments in life may be the key to happiness after all. We are surrounded by so many distractions every day that we sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses. We see Theodore living amongst the latest technological innovations, but they are not able to fix the emptiness he is feeling inside. This is where minimalism comes to play. It’s better to build a life with deep connections rather than deep attachments. This can be applied to technology, as well as to the people around us. Being distracted by too many things at once is one of the leading causes of burnout syndrome. We should learn to focus our efforts in the things that matter in life, and not allow ourselves to get too caught up in the temporary respite that we usually get from technology.
1. The circumstances helped us realize the value of self-love
Information is so easily available these days that we don’t really have to do much to learn about something new. Theodore had to deal with a lot of heavy baggage that molded him to be the person he became. Samantha’s impact in his life made him realize that there is more to life than shutting off and moping around. She taught him to face his insecurities, and give happiness another shot. Things between them might not have worked out in the end, but it somehow gave Theodore a new lease on life, and a chance to open his heart to better possibilities ahead.
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