In the movie Her, Theodore’s job at the Beautiful Handwritten Letters company makes audience question where the line can be drawn between allowing someone who is more equip than you to handle things as well as what we can consider real or not, all of which add up to making us question our own relationships and how they would survive in this particular type of society.
He mentions at one point how he has been writing letters for almost twenty years to the same child from the child’s parents. We as the audience are not equip to say that this particular child’s parents were too lazy to write a letter on their own or maybe felt they could not convey the same message that Theodore and his company are able to, though they mean every word that Theodore writes. In today’s society if our toilet is broken, we hire a plumber to fix the problem for us because they are more trained and skilled in this particular field. Who is to say that the Beautiful Handwritten Letters company and Theodore are not doing the same exact thing.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Similarly, if a letter is written by someone different than you thought it was from but you do not know the original person did not write it, does it matter? Through Theodore’s intimate experiences with his Operating System Samantha, audience members are left unsure of if it can be classified as a real relationship or not. Likewise, Theodore’s profession gives viewers the same type of uncertainty. Theodore has been writing letter for clients, often the same ones, for years now. He knows a lot about them even better then he knows himself. He knows that one client’s wife has a crooked front tooth and that is the “reason” he fell in love with her, or so his letters claim.
Is writing these letters an acceptable act? Would we as viewers feel loved or hurt if we received a letter from Theodore’s company? I believe this film gave Theodore this particular profession to allow viewers to see there is no black and white answers to these questions. Relationships in general in the movie Her are not what we expect relationships to be like today. Theodore’s profession drives us to question our own relationships and see what we would/ would not allow in them if they were to take place during this time. While we may not have a relationship like the ones present in the movie Her, we can still use these relationships as a way to test the boundaries of our own.
Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. Perf. Scarlett Johanson, Joaquin Phoenix. Warner Brothers Pictures, 2013. Netflix.