Poly themes in Spike Jonze's movie "Her"
Love may be limitless but poly time and attention are not, as that economist noted on NPR last week. He observed that a caller who espoused the abundance model of love had only three committed partners and not, say, five billion. Which made geeky me think "For those numbers you need a computer," remembering certain dear software people in science fiction (hi Dora, Minerva, Athene and Gay!)
So the movie Her has polywebs buzzing. It's been out for more than a month. Samantha, a self-evolving operating system, becomes conscious, and she and her user fall into an unusually rich kind of love. Official movie website. Trailer:
Among Samantha's abilities, she is transhumanly poly: able to carry on deep, committed relationships with hundreds of intimate partners at once. From an essay at Suggestivetongue.com:
HER: Exploring sexuality and polyamory
This past weekend I got the opportunity to see the movie “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix and (the voice of) Scarlett Johansson.... It is sad, sweet, touching, telling, and funny on top of it all....
Johansson makes her character (an operating system) come to life. Her greatest credit is how she forces the viewer to explore different aspects of love.
Though the film focuses on Phoenix and his struggles with women and romance, there is also a strong undertone of what it’s like to love differently than others. Johansson’s character doesn’t have a body. She is often at odds with this idea, frustrated that she cannot physically be with Phoenix. Despite this, we see the characters connect more joyfully than other couples in the movie. They are able to talk, laugh, share, trust, support, and even have sex. [See teledildonics.]
I thought this was particularly beautiful, because it emphasized how sex doesn’t have to be about PIV penetration to be satisfying....
Near the end of the film we also catch very clear messages of polyamory. The operating system has grown, evolved, and developed beyond the simple capacities of human understanding.
...I thought it was incredibly interesting that polyamory was portrayed as the natural evolutionary point for a system of higher intelligence....
Theodore: Are you in love with anybody else?
Samantha: Why do you ask that?
Theodore: I do not know. Are you?
Samantha: I’ve been thinking about how to talk to you about this.
Theodore: How many others?
It is a sweet moment, one that the woman behind me, flustered, thought was “slutty.” I do think it helps package and bundle the idea of polyamory and various types of sexuality for people who have no other experience with them....
Read the whole article (Jan. 27, 2014).
Writes a poster at Connecticut Polys (quoted by permission):
I saw a lot of poly themes:
1) 'Coming out' to self and others, with a loving style that one considers to be inferior to the usual style of loving.
2) When one partner has the such a large capacity for caring that nonmonogamy is inevitable, but the other partner is fully satisfied with exclusivity.
3) Is a body necessary to be a satisfying lover? Is physical touch necessary? What is actually necessary?
Fun movie! It earns its R rating so be careful who you bring.
Review at TechCrunch.
Also, interesting discussion on reddit/r/polymory.