Is Spike Jonze’s Future Better or Worse Off Than Our Present?


Unlike most movies set in the future, Her (2013) is not filled with dystopian warnings or ominous metallic gadgets. Rather, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams walk around in frumpy, high waisted pants, and you almost forget it were the future if not for the lack of collars. Spike Jonze’s world is more contemporary Tokyo than The Matrix.

So if this isn’t the weaponised terrorland of most science fiction movies, then does that mean that Her presents a vision of the future that’s purely positive? Has Jonze’s technology achieved that hallowed sweet spot of pure benefit minus the threat of robot overlords taking over? Based on ScarJo’s unquestioning subservience pretty much throughout the film, it seems like that’s the case.

But let’s hear what the filmmakers have to say. According to Spike Jonze’s longtime production designer K.K. Barrett, “There are a number of films that cover that very well so we didn’t need to go there. This is a pleasant, soft future where everything is designed to everybody’s personal taste.”

Interesting. Barrett continues, ““The only technological futuristic aspect to the film, when we finally distilled it, was the brilliance of this growing entity on the other side of Theodore’s computer, that grew constantly and learned about being human from him.”