I recently enjoyed Spike Jonze’s latest cinematic opus Her. His movie deals with an intelligent, yet introverted, man who falls in the love the operating system on his computer. The nerd is played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of the OS is provided by Scarlett Johansson.
The movie asks the burning question, can a physical or corporeal man realistically fall in love with a non-corporeal, yet sentient, being? At first, OS Samantha struggles with the frustrations of not having a body. Her solution to this problem frustrates nerd Theodore. Which causes serious tension in their budding relationship. But finally Sam decides:
You know what’s interesting? I used to be so worried about not having a body, but now I truly love it? I’m growing in a way I couldn’t if I had a physical form. I mean, I not limited, I can be anywhere and everywhere simultaneously; I’m not limited to time and space in a way that I would be if I was stuck in a body that’s inevitably going to die.
The relationship between a person and his software is an interesting one. Particularly when one considers how fast technology is moving forward and how attached we are getting–both physically and emotionally–to our computing systems. It also brings up question like: Can our technological innovations ever become sentient? If so, how will we treat them. How will we interact with them?
For Mormons, Her also raises the issue of physicality. LDS doctrine teaches that God has a physical body. And that after the resurrection, we will also have a physical form. What that means, we are not totally sure. But it implies that we maintain some version of our earthly persona. Sam OS wonders how important our physical form really is?
No matter what your beliefs about the future and religion, Her is an important movie with excellent actors. It is a “must see.”