Artciencia 8.17 (2014): 1-6


"Moving “Past Matter”: Challenges of Intimacy and Freedom in Spike Jonze’s her

Spike Jonze’s her (2014) is a film that illustrates the dissolving borders between personhood and technology. This paper explores the ways in which the film’s central relationship, between a man named Theodore and his O.S., Samantha, tests the limits of gendered corporeality and posits the feminized machine as ideal girlfriend (until she exercises her own agency, that is). The romantic relationship that flourishes between Samantha and Theodore relies on the popular trope of the disembodied woman. Drawing from speculative materialism, I argue that the film’s central concern is not the human nostalgia for intimacy in our current digital era but rather an awareness of the limits of our bodies and bounded consciousness. Because Samantha’s disembodied presence is fetishized as both spiritual (transcendent) and virginal (she cannot engage in sex with Theodore), she becomes the foil to our lack.