“Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”
I moved into an apartment about a month ago after spending a few years living in my parents’ basement again. I did what I had to do to get through college, I guess. This move has had its ups and downs, mostly ups because there’s nothing wrong with living here. I like it in fact. The downs come from me, usually. The apartment just facilitates the space and the time alone for me to let it sit in my head to fester and metastasize. I’ve struggled with being on my own and feeling isolated from the world and the depression that hasn’t really left me since June of last year.
I guess you could say I’ve been lonely.
Today is my birthday and I did everything I could to avoid any sort of interaction with people. I don’t like celebrating my birthday and I like being around people in a social setting even less, lately. So, I stayed in my room and tried to fend off my brain with what I could find for entertainment on Netflix and tried to find some way of getting out of going to my parents’ house because they want to celebrate my birthday. I eventually gave up trying that, just so you know. Anyway, I remembered there was a movie I wanted to see and decided to go alone. I decided to go to the 12:55 showing of this movie and when the time came I tossed on my clothes, my boots and my leather jacket and went to the theatre.
Going out in public by myself has always been easier in a lot of ways. Most people like to talk, but I don’t like to talk much. Talk is so cheap sometimes, especially to me and especially on my birthday. I guess I was disappointed too many times as a kid and this is another manifestation of the psychological damage done by my father when he abandoned me 15 years ago. Or maybe it’s just the winter. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I was really happy to have gone alone. I bought my ticket and went in and grabbed my seat.
[Unrelated to the topic at hand but I’m pretty sure I saw someone I went to high school with and had a thing for. It’s weird to see people you knew when the years have caused them to swell and balloon]
The movie I had come to see was a Spike Jonze film called “Her”. I was hoping for something good but, instead, I got to see something special.
Never has the future looked good dressed in red cardigans and plaid. The movie’s premise is that of a melancholy writer named Theodore. As the film progresses, you discover that he is going through a divorce and is having a difficult and lonely time of coping. He spends his time playing video games and having what amounts to kinky phone sex (where his partner asks him to strangle her with a cat) to fill the time. He has some friends and he attempts to date but nothing seems to work for him. In the midst of this he is introduced to a new product that is the first artificially intelligent operating system called OS 1. A clever little nod to Apple, I felt, considering their integration of Siri into their mobile OS.
Theodore installs this new operating system and, almost immediately, you are charmed by her warmth despite the fact that she is part of his computer. Scarlett Johansson does a wonderful job as the voice of Samantha, the OS. Very quickly, she begins to learn more about human nature and her own and she and Theodore develop the closest thing to a human relationship as possible. At moments it is sad because, as part of the audience, I felt like Samantha could be real. In the story, both Theodore and Samantha mention how much they both wish she had a body and could be next to him.
As they tend to do, doubt and jealousy begin to strain this relationship. This is where everything fell into place for me. Good films are artistic. The films that matter most are the ones where you can see yourself in them, the ones you can relate to. I found myself very much in Theodore’s shoes through most of his story. This movie was not one about technology for me and how its replacing social activity in our society. An argument could be made for that but, for me, this movie was about distance. It was about caring for someone who is essentially just a voice at the end of a line and wanting them, so badly, to be there with you.
It reminded me of my own experience with long distance relationships.
I can’t spoil the ending for you because I want you to see it for yourself and make your own judgements about how well put-together this movie is. I will say this: I know what it’s like to love someone who is, in one capacity, far away or inaccessible. And I know the problems it can create with jealousy and communication with that person and I know what it feels like when it all falls apart and you’re left with nothing.
My heart felt stimulated for the first time in a very long time. I think good art will do that to you, no matter the medium. In a world where classic movie remakes and TV show reboots are the money making scheme in film, it felt really good to see someone taking the time to assemble a cast and write a script that created a unique experience that tells a tale I’m sure almost anyone can relate to. It felt really good to be inspired again. And, for some reason, it felt really good to experience that by myself. I didn’t have to give my opinion afterwards or try to instantly analyze what I saw. I got to soak it up and process it.
And that has made all the difference.