The movie Her passes the cancer test. But it fails the distraction test big time. Don’t read this if you don’t want Her spoiled a little. Not that you couldn’t figure out for yourselves that it might not be a happily ever after story with babies and stuff. I should have figured that a film about a super smart Operating System (are there dumber ones, because he should have ordered one of those) that is all brain and no body would be heavy on introspection. I’m looking for extraspection. This film is the opposite of Lars and the Real Girl, (body - albeit plastic - and no brain) which left me upbeat and optimistic.
Samantha (the OS) and Theodore (the real boy, who is already depressed at the beginning so it can’t get much worse for him) get surprisingly deep into their relationship, with sex, walks in the snowy woods and double dates. Then they start having less sex. She asks why, and he says that’s just the way things go, and you figure Spike Jonze is making the point that regardless if you’re dating someone real or virtual, the same shit’s going to happen. You’ll never be content. You’ll get insecure, inevitably have less sex, and maybe get cancer or a virus. (Some things are implied.)
Samantha spends the first half of the film lamenting the fact she doesn’t have a body. But then while she and Theodore are picnicking with another couple on the grass, (yes that really happens) she gets philosophical and decides it’s better not to have one, because she won’t die like they will. While she is talking about the mortality of the entire human race, I tend at the moment to personalize these things, and figure it’s addressed to me. So you don’t even need to mention the C word to trigger a pile of fears.
I didn’t collapse or burst into tears (as I’ve done before) but I did feel unnecessarily bleak. These days I’m managing to get out of Lymphomaland. So if I go to a movie - a proper one, in a theatre, which I’ve only done one other time in the months since my diagnosis, and that was to see my friends’ hot doc Derby Crazy Love. I want distraction. Roller Derby is a guaranteed riveting distraction.
As an aside, Spike Jonze has decided that the future has very high-wasted pants for men.
One more thing. By accident my friend Brenda bought us tickets in VIP, which is a very cozy 5-row theatre reminiscent of the old Cineplex, except they serve wine and popcorn and the seats lean back. Five minutes after we arrived a couple sat down behind us. He started hacking and she asked whether he’d finished his antibiotics, and I started to panic.
We moved up a row. I tied my scarf around my nose and mouth, which made it hot and stuffy and conceivably upped the introspection factor. When I wasn’t contemplating my own mortality I was wondering what it would be like to walk around in the world with my face covered all the time.
I’ll think long and hard before selecting the next movie, or remember to stuff Polysporin in the entrance to my nose, which I’m told functions as quick sand for germs.
Do the nostrils need to be entirely full? Because really, I don’t need to go out that badly.