Him and Her: Spike Jonze reveals why the OS of the future is all talk


In Her's future, phones are more like cigarette cases

In Her, Johansson's Samantha alleviates this burden from Phoenix's character. She/it filters his emails for importance, often emotional importance, essentially putting order into a life that's increasingly overcome by information.

Technology in the movie is used to simplify and sort, helping Theodore feel, well, more human. Samantha is even there to give advice and act as a digital shoulder to cry on when things get too much.

In real life, though, Jonze is well aware of the imbalance that many of us go through with our technology; the constant battle to stay on top of things and how this affects us emotionally.

"Technology shouldn't just offer information but also ways to take care of ourselves," he says.

"There is this incredible amount of information, this incredible amount of communication and pressure to respond to it all and see it all.

"To succeed now you have to respond to 150 emails a day, you are never really off. It is not like the 50s where you would go have cocktails, dinner with your family and clock off at five. That reality just doesn't exist anymore."

Seeking out balance

"I think about how much of our day is spent taking in information, receiving and replying to communication. It's so much."

Does this mean that technology has pushed us all too far? With half the world glued to their phones, is humanity doomed? Jonze doesn't think that's the case, believing that whatever technology offers our human side will always win out.

"Because we are such adaptive creatures and are so resourceful, we are going to do what we need to do and the more our lives get consumed with technology the more we are going to seek out the balance. Humanity will always find a way to make sure it gets what it needs," he explains.

This seeking out of balance seems to come naturally to Jonze. With every question we ask, he poses a question back at us.


Communications in Her are done through earpieces

At one point he asks TechRadar if we think we are outsourcing our memory to our phone (and we think he has a point). Further into the conversation he wants to know if we think technology has stopped us getting intimate with ourselves, preventing us from connecting with our feelings and thoughts (again, we think he has a point).

It's these themes that punctuate Her and Jonze is clearly still inquisitive about people's relationships with technology. This passion comes out in the movie and is one of many reasons his screenplay has been nominated for an Oscar. Interestingly, though, this has never swayed him to try and interact with his own phone in this way.

When asked if he uses Siri he just smiles and says, "No."

If he did then he would learn that his film has garnered so much attention from Apple that if you ask Siri what it thinks of Her's Samantha, you are given a brilliantly bitchy reply.

Siri may not be as adept as Samantha yet but it's little things like this that prove Jonze's vision of the future really isn't that far away.

Her is out in UK cinemas February 14, courtesy of Entertainment Film Distributors, and is ready to pre-order on Blu-ray in the US and Australia.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.