A string of random circumstances came together on NYE to send me a poignant, painful and powerful message in the form of the movie her. In short the plot is about a man (Joaquin Phoenix who is spectacular) who develops a loving relationship with an OS (Scarlett Johansson) which learns and feels into a feminine being.
I saw the previews months ago and thought “No way, looks lame”. Thank God I went.
I’m going through a really tough time with love and women. I haven’t said “I love you” to a woman since my ex-wife 10+ years ago. The script centers almost entirely around the pain, joy and journey of love.
Without spoiling things here are a few reflections:
- If I say I love you to a woman, I’m all in. When I do I risk hurting another person if (or when…) I fall out of love. I worry about this more than getting hurt. So I either get into relationships where I know I won’t or just don’t say I love you. The movie has a SUPER powerful scene that points out the more I give love the bigger my capacity to love gets. I was in tears at that point because of what that means to my reticence to say I love you to a woman.
- Many of my relationships are based on text and email. It’s a large part of how I feel connected. And it’s giving me a false feeling of fullness. I’m losing what it means to see each other’s reactions and be there for each other. There are inherent, simple limitations to it. One of them is pointed out in the VERY last scene of the movie.
- When a woman starts to get close to me and have feelings for me I make it about me and my fears. Are you becoming attached to me? Do you want a commitment? And on and on. The movie knocked me back by showing me that when I go into self-preservation mode, I completely ignore the fact that another human being is sharing something deep and vulnerable.
And there’s SO much more I could share, which I’ll do in a heartbeat if you see it and want to get together to talk about it.
I was weeping during a number of points of the movie. The power of the use of the OS’ voice and Phoenix’s voice to transmit emotion is breathtaking.
While I have a feeling that it’s a movie that will either deeply move you or have you saying “meh”, go see it. Because taking the risk of “meh” is so small compared to the rich reward you will get if you are moved by it.