Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Her and the Nature of Love

Love is patient; love is kind;
love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13

We went to see the film Her on Saturday evening. Two movies in one week is definitely "when it rains it pours" for us. I really liked it, Ruth didn't. Daughter Emily saw it not long ago and loved it, friends didn't enjoy it. In other words, mixed reviews.

I was fascinated by this story of a regular guy living in the not-too-distant-future which looks a lot like today but with technological advancements which are currently just beyond our reach. Theodore Twombly (how is that for a nerdy name) has gone through a painful separation and is reluctant to finalize the divorce his wife wants. His friends are concerned that he has moved into a place of sadness which is changing his character and he wonders whether he can ever be happy again. Dating doesn't work, but then he purchases a new and innovative OS (operating system) which is essentially an online, intuitive personal assistant. This virtual assistant, Samantha, is so intuitive that Theodore develops a relationship with "her", and eventually falls in love, and she with him. It's interesting that the invisible Samantha is the voice of the lovely Scarlett Johansen. Does that make a difference to the way we imagine this computer-generated "person?"

This relationship becomes the perfect, joyous antidote to disappointing human relationships, and Theodore is eventually able to share the news of his love with others, who take it rather well, except for his ex! I will be careful about blabbing too much about the outcome here, but in the end we are invited to ask how loving relationships are created, and whether we can ever "program" the ideal union.

When I help couples prepare for weddings I yearn for alternatives to the scripture passage above, as powerful as it is. The apostle Paul didn't write it as some lofty template for the ideal marriage, but that is the way it is often perceived. We all must develop and nurture relationships in the real rather than the virtual world with that the risks and disappointments and joys that entails. And God will be with us as we do.

Have you seen Her? Are you intrigued? As Valentine Day approaches, how are your perfect human relationships going?


Judy Mcknight said...

Saw it - thought the premise of a virtual "her" was just too far - fetched ... and , for me, this situation just made Theodore a bit more of a pathetic character ... although he certainly needed the compassionate listener that "Samantha" was for him... the other stuff was just too - well - unreal and impossible (I prefer a real human , myself, to interact with ... have not found one yet , to replace my late partner - perhaps never will...)I thought the end of the movie showed a bit more of a real possibility for a relationship that just might work, given time .

Laurie said...

Thought it was one of the best movies of 2013. Really liked it. Hope it wins some at the Oscars!. Human relationships go up and down and who would want any thing to change? It is the ups and downs that make them interesting!