Spike Jonze’s Her (2013) artfully shows what it is like to be in love in the future. The movie is set in the not-to-distant future with operating systems a bit more advanced than those we have now. Her partly follows the mold of the classic romantic comedy with an unconventional twist. A boy, Theodore, meets a girl, Samantha, and, despite her being an operating system, falls in love with her. Because Samantha gains knowledge past human capability, she is able to communicate and fall in love with hundreds of other people. In the end, Theodore and Samantha part ways and do not end up together. Even though this is not the conventional ending for a romantic comedy, both characters end up happy and they have found a resolution. Many modern day romantic comedies like 500 Days of Summer (2009) and Love Actually (2003) end without a kiss and the love interests parting ways. This could be a reflection of post-modern ideals of playing with classical models.
In Her, comic relief can be found in a video game character that Theodore plays. He is a little boy with a bad mouth and is a complete foil character to Theodore; he speaks his mind no matter what because there are no consequences. While the audience can get a laugh from his character, Theodore can learn from him because he struggles with expressing his problems. Most of the film deals with serious issues like divorce and depression but each character finds a way to make themselves and the audience laugh. For example, Theodore’s friend, Amy makes friends with her operating system and jokes around with her to help her get over her break up. Comic relief is very important in more serious romantic comedies like Her because it reminds the audience to find humor in the little things, no matter how depressing the situation.
The script for Her beautifully reveals concepts that the characters are trying to grasp. The film relies heavily on the script because the love interests cannot physically interact with each other. Through their words they can express their feelings about each other and about pain and understanding. The films main themes of self-acceptance are brought out in the script as each character learns to love themselves despite their flaws and their past. For example, after her breakup, Amy’s character says, “We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy” (Her). The film also portrayed self-acceptance through the script at the end of the film when Theodore and Samantha part ways. Because Samantha is an operating system, the movie could not end with a hug or a kiss but instead it ended with a genius exchange of words when Theodore says, “I never loved anyone like I love you.” To which Samantha replies, “Me neither. Now I know how” (Her). The script allows the actors to express emotion in a raw and intense way without making the audience uncomfortable. Through great writing, Her invites the audience to think differently about their past and how accepting they are of their own flaws.