The world's first emotional operating system was introduced in the science-fiction-romantic-comedy-drama Her (2013). The film depicts a future society, well-developed in technology, to accentuate the culture as opposed to replace it. For the most part anyway. When OS1--the most intuitive modern operating system--is introduced, our lonely introverted protagonist, who composes love letters for a career, falls madly in love. The film is oozing with quirkiness, and despite its cross-genre appeal, Her has a scent of its own.
Aesthetically, the film is beautiful. It depicts a very realistic and stylish version of the near future, bringing in retrofitted styles and elegant technological advances. Absent of chrome robots folding our clothes and spreading jam across our morning toast, Her paints a future that we could potentially live in. Fashion, for instance, is a key concept to represent the culture--taking on a style equivalent to the 1950s. High-waist pants become sexy and pastel-colored dress shirts are a comfortable and classy casual wear. The lines between engendered clothing are blurred, and the unisex appeal represents the progressive equality present in this future. Society, while optimistically portrayed in the film, is contrasted by the more serious topics of love and belonging explored in the internal conflicts of the primary characters.
Specifically, the growing complications of the human male and female computer relationship exhibit a basic human concern. What creates love? The conversations held between man and computer are engrossing and tender, truly romantic. Can love be a purely abstract concept, devoid of physical connection? As we are essentially islands beneath our skin, we can never grow to truly know the inside of another--every thought and emotion. Physical vicinity to other bodies does little to remedy loneliness, for being in a crowd can sometimes be the loneliest feeling of all. Happiness comes from within, so can love exist in one's thoughts, in a vacuum? Or does there need to be a container? A container affects content, perhaps limiting perceptions, as the female lover explains she is exploring and expanding her understanding more than her human male could ever gather. Despite the ideal world created by external society, where crimes do not appear to be prevalent and environmental and social issues appear solved, the individual turmoil over emotions persists. We live beside each other, but we are still alone in our skin.
Her is a beautiful composition of an unsolvable problem. Regardless of every technological or societal improvement to our world, the members of it will continue to carry their emotional weight. Happiness and love come from within, but we are limited by our human selves. That physical component, no matter how limiting, is beautiful.