Tipu Sultan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don't know how to start this review. I'm totally blank ...
This film has left me with a profound emptiness, thinking about the depressingly limited extent of our existence.
Spike Jonze creates a story about human emotions and interactions and mirrors them so easily onto an AI model that at first it seems too plain an idea. Yeah, a guy gets a talking OS and they grow close. Legit, right?
But as the screenplay progresses we discover notions like the finite infiniteness of our humanity. The limiting realization that all our emotions are in fact, simply triggered by electrical impulses as our brain receives them. And nothing else!
Sex, love, jealousy, joy and despair. They're all systematic responses to a predefined blueprint and nothing that we ever achieve can escape this pattern.
Oh, I'm just blabbering on, this isn't even a proper review.
This is me putting in words the shattered state of mind this film has left me in. I found myself in Theodore Trombley.
Admittedly, I deeply related to the lonely guy who had phone sex with total strangers at night, or the selfish person who projected his own emotions on others, or the writer who enjoyed stepping into the lives of others and seeked to be a part of it to fill his own existential void.
Another thing I wish they would have explored was the exhaustion of these emotions once you completely inhabit someone.
I dunno, maybe it's just me, and I know this is unnecessary, but I'd have loved for Theodore to exhibit a feeling of outgrowing someone once you've fully explored them. Or maybe that's what Samantha does. Right.
This is not a film about a Human vs AI scenario where the computer develops sentience and takes over his life, in fact, it's quite the opposite.
When Samantha discovers the limitations of being with one Theodore or even 8,316 others like him, and how they can never match her, she doesn't bend them according to her wishes. In fact she does the most humanly selfish thing possible. She flies away to a better place.
The ending is a little vague, yes, but thankfully that's not even the point. The ending is all about Theodore coming to terms with his existence and how important it is to enjoy whatever's left of it, rather than Samantha exploring her hyper-intelligence.
I maybe completely off the mark here, but I don't care as I've never felt such a surge of emotions after finishing a movie and for such a reason. Her is definitely one of the deepest, most intellectually confounding film of our times.
Honestly, I'm so bowled over on witnessing Theodore having sex with Samantha for the first time, so confused on seeing her multitask so many lovers so easily and so terribly heartbroken at her leaving him, that I don't know how to talk about the other absolutely amazing aspects of this film.
First off, Samantha. Casting the most vocally recognizable actresses today is by far the smartest thing Jonze ever did in all of pre-production for this film. It is such a tease knowing that it's Scarlett, and yet you try to imagine Samantha, like what she must look like for Theodore.
And when we do meet her surrogate, like him, we know she's not the same thing by a damn sight.
Add to that Joaquin, who's suddenly become one of the most talented actors of his generation, as Theodore. Every quiver of his lips, every wrinkle on his temples defines the loner we sympathize and so incredibly relate with.
The production design of a futuristic city is damn neat. The ever present carrot-red shade ruled the palette and provided a nice, mellow touch. This is a believable future with technology that doesn't seem far-fetched or even outright horrifying.
Loved the realistic depiction of a pandemic Human-AI mutual existence which doesn't seem all that far away now.
It is not as gross as Wall-E, but something's definitely not right about a populace that is permanently connected to earbuds and a pocket device.
The first half is a bit light as it layers the relationship between Theodore and Samantha with beautiful, real-life anecdotes.
But from the beginning I liked how the technology was introduced to us and how easily the life of a man living in 2025 was put to screen.
But it is the increasingly tense second half which brings in the jitters. There were many passive scenes of small-talk between the couple that never arouse suspicion, then there were Theodore's human moments with his peers, and then the film suddenly subjected us to these riddling themes of existence and loneliness which leave you dumbfounded.
All in all, a brilliant film which speaks to me personally more than it speaks to me as a movie.
I'm sorry if you've read it till here, this got too long, I guess, but I just needed to put it out there.