Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ makes artificial intelligence look natural

From Cube Critics Stephanie Curtis and Euan Kerr:

Spike Jonze’s latest film, “Her,” starts with the seemingly wacky storyline of a man who falls in love with an operating system. Or rather, with the artificial intelligence of the operating system his phone brings to life (as it were). And credit to Jonze, it totally works.

Joaquin Phoenix is a lonely writer who develops an unusual relationship with his OS, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The film clicks because it shows a relationship stripped of the physicality that distracts from its essence. So much about what you love about someone is talking to them, as Jonze’s film perfectly states.

While “Her” is an example of artificial intelligence done right on screen, others have pulled it off before:

“A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” 2001. Steven Spielberg’s drama about a highly sophisticated robot boy longing for the love of his mother. It’s a great story about what happens when the technology that affects our lives becomes obsolete — in this case, a little boy. It’s a heartbreaking look at the world.

“Robot & Frank,” 2012. Frank Langella is a forgetful old man who plans heists with a robot gifted from his son. It’s creative, and unlike many sci-fi movies that rely too much on special effects, “Robot & Frank” takes place in our own world — just a touch into the future.

“Sleeper,” 1973. An early Woody Allen sci-fi comedy set in the future succeeds at two things: showing just how personal technology can make things, and how hilarious Woody Allen is while beating a giant pudding with a broom.

“Minority Report,” 2002. Steven Spielberg’s take on Washington, D.C. in 2054 when the government knows when crimes are about to be committed is particularly relevant these days.