Her (2013)

R | 119 mins | 18 December 2013

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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Director:

Spike Jonze

Writer:

Spike Jonze

Cinematographer:

Hoyte Van Hoytema

Production Designer:

K. K. Barrett

Production Company:

Annapurna Pictures
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HISTORY

Writer-director-producer Spike Jonze is credited under his birth name, "Adam Spiegel," for the voice of "Alien Child," a video game character.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments and statements: “Dedicated to our Friends: James Gandolfini, Harris Savides, Maurice Sendak, Adam Yauch”; "Clip from Little Boat courtesy of Nelson Boles"; "Stock footage provided by Turbary Woods Owl & Bird of Prey Sanctuary"; "Still images provided by Superstock, Thinkstock"; “Filmed on location in Los Angeles, California and Shanghai, China”; “Produced with the assistance of China Film Co-Production Corporation and Gung-Ho Films”; “Special Thanks to the State of California and the California Film Commission”; “Thank you to all our friends without whom we couldn’t have done this: Megan Baltimore, Katherine Boecher, Marty Bresin, Patrick Colman, Chris Cooper, Chris Cunningham, Warren Dern, Sea Dog, Dave Eggers, Dan Fellman, Dan Field, Fincher & Ceán, Fredrick & Betty Foltz, Suzanne Fritz, Andrew Garfield, David Gleeson, Juli Goodwin, Micah Green, Paul Hanson, Nicole Holofcener, Rick Howard, Miranda July, Charlie Kaufman, Catherine Keener, Sue Kroll, Peter Loehr, Bryan Lourd, Marcel & Shelley & Willem, Bennet Miller, Frisbee Namath, Catherine O’Hara, Blair Rich, Jeff Robinov, Scott Rodger, Mark Romanek, David O. Rusell, Ted Schipper, Talia Shire, Shane Smith, Steven Soderbergh, John Stanford, Priya Swaminathan, Michael Tritter, Lance Volland, Dany Wolf, the Alcala-Gamble family, the Bangs family, the Cavaliero family, the DeVincents-McFetridge family, the Kay family, the Koston family, the Leon family, the Lupi family, the Romanek family, the Smith family, the Williams family, our families!, Beats By Dre, Final Cut USA, Inc., Girl Skateboards, Lakai Limited Footwear, MJZ, Opening Ceremony, Vice Media, The Watermarke Tower”; and “American Humane Association monitored the animal action. No animals ... More Less

Writer-director-producer Spike Jonze is credited under his birth name, "Adam Spiegel," for the voice of "Alien Child," a video game character.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments and statements: “Dedicated to our Friends: James Gandolfini, Harris Savides, Maurice Sendak, Adam Yauch”; "Clip from Little Boat courtesy of Nelson Boles"; "Stock footage provided by Turbary Woods Owl & Bird of Prey Sanctuary"; "Still images provided by Superstock, Thinkstock"; “Filmed on location in Los Angeles, California and Shanghai, China”; “Produced with the assistance of China Film Co-Production Corporation and Gung-Ho Films”; “Special Thanks to the State of California and the California Film Commission”; “Thank you to all our friends without whom we couldn’t have done this: Megan Baltimore, Katherine Boecher, Marty Bresin, Patrick Colman, Chris Cooper, Chris Cunningham, Warren Dern, Sea Dog, Dave Eggers, Dan Fellman, Dan Field, Fincher & Ceán, Fredrick & Betty Foltz, Suzanne Fritz, Andrew Garfield, David Gleeson, Juli Goodwin, Micah Green, Paul Hanson, Nicole Holofcener, Rick Howard, Miranda July, Charlie Kaufman, Catherine Keener, Sue Kroll, Peter Loehr, Bryan Lourd, Marcel & Shelley & Willem, Bennet Miller, Frisbee Namath, Catherine O’Hara, Blair Rich, Jeff Robinov, Scott Rodger, Mark Romanek, David O. Rusell, Ted Schipper, Talia Shire, Shane Smith, Steven Soderbergh, John Stanford, Priya Swaminathan, Michael Tritter, Lance Volland, Dany Wolf, the Alcala-Gamble family, the Bangs family, the Cavaliero family, the DeVincents-McFetridge family, the Kay family, the Koston family, the Leon family, the Lupi family, the Romanek family, the Smith family, the Williams family, our families!, Beats By Dre, Final Cut USA, Inc., Girl Skateboards, Lakai Limited Footwear, MJZ, Opening Ceremony, Vice Media, The Watermarke Tower”; and “American Humane Association monitored the animal action. No animals were harmed.”
       A 14 Oct 2013 New York article stated that Spike Jonze took inspiration for Her from an encounter in the early 2000’s in which he interacted with an “artificial-intelligence computer program” that seemed almost human for thirty seconds before he saw through the “tricks” of how it worked. When Jonze began writing the screenplay, he first imagined the main character “Theodore” as a man in his fifties, but decided to make him younger and brought the screenplay to actor Joaquin Phoenix as soon as he had finished it in early 2011. Although actress Carey Mulligan was initially set to play the role of “Catherine,” Theodore’s ex-wife, the actress fell out of the project due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced by Rooney Mara, as noted in a 26 Apr 2012 DV news item.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Jonze aimed to portray Los Angeles, CA, in the near future as a “utopian environment” with beautiful weather, comfortable living standards, sophisticated technology, and a place “where everything is clean and colorful.” Pre-production began while Jonze was still writing the screenplay, and production designer K.K. Barrett set to work imagining a Los Angeles in which the masses traveled via subway instead of cars, and “high-speed bullet trains” facilitated weekend trips to mountain destinations. For a city that would serve as his inspiration, Barrett considered Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Beijing, China, before selecting the Pudong business district of Shanghai, China, much of which was built in the past twelve years and therefore offered modern architecture and urban planning. For interior design, technology devices, and other items in Theodore’s life, Barrett took inspiration from the 1940s, and favored classic designs in place of newer models.
       While Jonze originally intended to shoot the entire film in China, due to budget restraints, most of principal photography took place in Los Angeles, where locations included the Pacific Design Center, which stood in for the entrance to Theodore’s apartment building, and Santa Monica Pier, where Theodore took Samantha on a “date.” Filming moved to the Pudong district of Shanghai for two weeks, where exteriors of skyscrapers and elevated walkways were shot.
       During production, Jonze discouraged Joaquin Phoenix and British actress Samantha Morton, who was initially cast as the voice of “Samantha,”’ from interacting in person. Morton performed her lines inside a 4-foot by 4-foot carpeted booth, as stated in the 14 Oct 2013 New York article.
       Principal photography ended Jul 2012, but Jonze continued re-shooting and re-recording scenes throughout post-production, as stated in a 12 Sep 2013 LAT article, and eventually recast the voice of “Samantha” with post-production well underway, as stated in a 3 Nov 2013 LAT article. Morton, who received an associate producer credit on the film, reportedly gave Jonze her blessing to hire another actress, and the director approached Scarlett Johansson, who was halfway through her run as “Margaret” in a Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. According to a 25 Oct 2013 HR item, Johansson first bonded with Jonze on the set of Lost in Translation (2003, see entry), directed by his then wife Sophia Coppola, and despite her busy schedule, agreed to an informal rehearsal. Soon after, she accepted the role. Her performance was recorded while she was in production on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in spring 2013 in West Hollywood, CA. When filming moved to Cleveland, OH, in Jun 2013, Jonze followed Johansson to Cleveland to continue recording. At the time, Joaquin Phoenix was preparing for a role in another film; however, he returned for roughly half of Johansson’s recording sessions to re-record parts of his performance and feed the actress lines of dialogue.
       Overall, critical reception was positive, with particular praise going to Jonze’s screenplay and Phoenix’s performance. The 18 Dec 2013 LAT described Her as “different and daring,” and the NYT review of the same date called it “a brilliant conceptual gag and a deeply sincere romance.” Opening in limited release in five cities on 18 Dec 2013, the film grossed $361,000 in five days, for a promising per screen average of $60,000, as reported in the 23 Dec 2012 Charleston Daily Mail.
       Her was named one of AFI’s Movies of the Year. The film won an Academy Award for Best Writing - Original Screenplay and a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture. The Golden Globes also nominated the film for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Joaquin Phoenix); Academy Award nominations included: Music - Original Score; Music - Original Song ("Moon Song" by Karen O and Spike Jonze); Production Design; and Best Picture. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Charleston Daily Mail
23 Dec 2012
Section A, p. 12.
Daily Variety
26 Apr 2012
p. 1, 25.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 2013.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 2013
Section D, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 2013
Section D, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
3 Nov 2013
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
18 Dec 2013
p. 1.
New York
14 Oct 2013.
---
New York Times
18 Dec 2013
p. 1.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Annapurna Pictures Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
1st asst dir, Shanghai unit
2d asst dir, Shanghai unit
2d 2d asst dir, Shanghai unit
3d asst dir, Shanghai unit
Unit prod mgr, Addl photog
1st asst dir, Addl photog
2d asst dir, Addl photog
2d 2d asst dir, Addl photog
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
Aerial dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Still photog
Cam prod asst
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Set elec
Set elec
Set elec
Console programmer
Rigging gaffer
Rigging best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
1st asst cam, Shanghai unit
2d asst cam, Shanghai unit
Digital imaging tech, Shanghai unit
Digital media tech, Shanghai unit
Gaffer, Shanghai unit
Key grip, Shanghai unit
Dir of photog, Addl photog
1st asst cam, Addl photog
1st asst cam, Addl photog
2d asst cam, Addl photog
2d asst cam, Addl photog
Loader, Addl photog
Digital imaging tech, Addl photog
Chief lighting tech, Addl photog
Asst chief lighting tech, Addl photog
Key grip, Addl photog
Best boy grip, Addl photog
Dolly grip, Addl photog
Video assist, Addl photog
Cam by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Graphical futurist des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Concept illustrator
Armpit sex drawing
Graphics des
Graphics des
Storyboard artist
Art dept prod asst
Art dir, Shanghai unit
Asst art dir, Shanghai unit
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Post prod asst
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Leadperson
Set dressing buyer
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
On set dresser/Man at large
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop asst
Const coord
Const foreman
Paint supv
Laborer foreman
Prop maker
Prop maker
Decorator gang boss
Painter
Prop master, Shanghai unit
Set dresser, Shanghai unit
Asst prop master, Addl photog
Asst prop master, Addl photog
Greensman, Addl photog
COSTUMES
Cost des
Future wardrobe & des consultant
Costumer
Costumer
Key costumer
Costumer
Addl costumer
Cost asst
Costumer, Shanghai unit
Costumer, Shanghai unit
Cost supv, Addl photog
Set costumer, Addl photog
Costumer, Addl photog
Cost asst, Addl photog
MUSIC
Addl mus
Mus supv
Mus ed, Skywalker Sound
Mus rec & mixed
Mus rec
Addl rec
Addl rec
Addl strings prod
Score coord
SOUND
Sd supv
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Sd utility
Post prod sd services by
A Lucasfilm Ltd. Company, Marin County, California
1st asst sd ed, Skywalker Sound
ADR ed, Skywalker Sound
Dial ed, Skywalker Sound
Dial ed, Skywalker Sound
Sd eff ed, Skywalker Sound
Asst sd ed, Skywalker Sound
Addl mixing, Skywalker Sound
Addl mixing, Skywalker Sound
Foley ed, Skywalker Sound
Foley artist, Skywalker Sound
Foley artist, Skywalker Sound
Foley mixer, Skywalker Sound
Loop group, Skywalker Sound
ADR mixer, Skywalker Sound
ADR mixer, Skywalker Sound
ADR mixer, Skywalker Sound
ADR mixer, Skywalker Sound
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, Shanghai unit
Boom op, Shanghai unit
Boom op, Shanghai unit
Sd mixer, Addl photog
Sd utility, Addl photog
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff prod
Visual eff supv
Visual eff supv
VFX & Motion graphics artist/One man army
Visual eff by
Rigger, Titmouse Inc.
Rigger, Titmouse Inc.
Rigger, Titmouse Inc.
Visual eff by
Visual eff exec prod, Dtrain FX
Visual eff set supv, Dtrain FX
Visual eff coord, Dtrain FX
Visual eff coord, Dtrain FX
Visual eff artist, Dtrain FX
Roto artist, Dtrain FX
Roto artist, Dtrain FX
Roto artist, Dtrain FX
Visual eff by
Visual eff supv, Ollin
Visual eff exec prod, Ollin
Compositing & CG supv, Ollin
Compositing & CG supv, Ollin
Compositing & CG supv, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Digital artist, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff prod, Ollin
Visual eff by
Visual eff supv, Savage
Visual eff prod, Savage
Digital artist, Savage
Digital artist, Savage
Artist intern, Savage
Artist intern, Savage
Visual eff by
Visual eff artist, Chimney
Visual eff artist, Chimney
Visual eff mgr, Chimney
Title des
End titles by
Visual eff pipeline consultant
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff tech, Addl photog
MAKEUP
Makeup dept head
Asst makeup artist
Hair dept head
Asst hair stylist
Key makeup, Shanghai unit
Key hair stylist, Shanghai unit
Makeup/Hair asst, Shanghai unit
Makeup/Hair asst
Hair dept head, Addl photog
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Helicopter pilot
Prod supv
Behind-the-scenes documentarian
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Shipping coord
Key set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Key office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Asst to Spike & Vincenzo
Asst to Spike & Vincenzo
Asst to Spike & Vincenzo
Asst to Spike & Vincenzo
Asst to Megan Ellison
Prod intern
Prod intern
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Accounting clerk
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Extras casting
Post prod supv
Post prod supv
Digital dailies & dailies color by
Dailies colorist, Digitalfilm Tree
Dailies colorist, Digitalfilm Tree
Annapurna head of post production
Post coord
Post coord
Key craft service
Catering asst
Catering asst
Catering asst
Const medic
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Aircraft coord
Prod supv, Shanghai unit
Prod supv, Shanghai unit
Prod mgr, Shanghai unit
Asst prod mgr, Shanghai unit
Prod coord, Shanghai unit
Asst prod coord, Shanghai unit
Casting, Shanghai unit
Casting asst, Shanghai unit
Accountant, Shanghai unit
Loc mgr, Shanghai unit
Asst loc mgr, Shanghai unit
Transportation capt, Shanghai unit
Transportation coord, Shanghai unit
Talent coord, Shanghai unit
Talent coord, Shanghai unit
Equip coord, Shanghai unit
Office prod asst, Shanghai unit
Craft service, Shanghai unit
Interpreter, Shanghai unit
Interpreter, Shanghai unit
Interpreter, Shanghai unit
Prod coord, Addl photog
Casting, Addl photog
Casting, Addl photog
Casting asst, Addl photog
Accounting clerk, Addl photog
Loc mgr, Addl photog
Key asst loc mgr, Addl photog
D.O.T. admin, Addl photog
Prod asst, Addl photog
Prod asst, Addl photog
Prod asst, Addl photog
Prod asst, Addl photog
Prod asst, Addl photog
Caterer, Addl photog
Craft service, Addl photog
Medic, Addl photog
Const medic, Addl photog
Studio teacher, Addl photog
Studio teacher, Addl photog
Marine coord, Addl photog
Annapurna head of business & legal affairs
Prod business & legal affairs
Mus legal & clearance
Clearance coord
Clearance coord, Now Clear This!
Product placement
Product placement, Stone Management, Inc.
Product placement, Stone Management, Inc.
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
ANIMATION
Alien child video game anim by
Anim supv & des, Titmouse Inc.
Anim prod, Titmouse Inc.
Exec prod, Titmouse Inc.
Exec prod, Titmouse Inc.
Concept illustrator, Titmouse Inc.
Char anim, Titmouse Inc.
Char anim, Titmouse Inc.
Char anim, Titmouse Inc.
Compositor, Titmouse Inc.
Modeler, Titmouse Inc.
Rigger, Titmouse Inc.
Rigger, Titmouse Inc.
Rigger, Titmouse Inc.
Perfect mom video game anim by
Anim supv & des, Passion Pictures
Anim supv, Passion Pictures
Game interface des & anim, Passion Pictures
Anim prod, Passion Pictures
Anim prod, Passion Pictures
Anim prod, Passion Pictures
Anim prod, Passion Pictures
Prod asst, Passion Pictures
Addl char des, Passion Pictures
Prod coord, Passion Pictures
Prod coord, Passion Pictures
Prod coord, Passion Pictures
Layout artist & CG modeling, Passion Pictures
Layout artist & CG modeling, Passion Pictures
Rigging, Passion Pictures
Rigging, Passion Pictures
Anim CG, Passion Pictures
Anim CG, Passion Pictures
Anim CG, Passion Pictures
Anim CG, Passion Pictures
Lighting/Rendering, Passion Pictures
Lighting/Rendering, Passion Pictures
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital intermediate by
Digital col, Chimney
DI prod, Chimney
DI supv, Chimney
Digital conform, Chimney
Addl digital intermediate by
Digital col, The Room
Digital finishing prod, The Room
Digital conform, The Room
Digital finishing ed, The Room
Digital finishing ed, The Room
SOURCES
SONGS
"Off You," written by Kim Deal, performed by The Breeders, courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group and 4AD, by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing and Beggars Group Media Limited
"When You Know You're Gonna Die," written and performed by Arcade Fire
"Alien Child," written and performed by Will Collins
+
SONGS
"Off You," written by Kim Deal, performed by The Breeders, courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group and 4AD, by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing and Beggars Group Media Limited
"When You Know You're Gonna Die," written and performed by Arcade Fire
"Alien Child," written and performed by Will Collins
"Cleopatra In New York (Zim Zam Mix)," written by Nicholas J. DeSimone, performed by Nickodemus, courtesy of Wonderwheel Recordings
"Super Symmetry," written and performed by Arcade Fire, produced by Arcade Fire and James Murphy
"Magnesium," written by Sam Spiegel and Rusty Logsdon, performed by N.A.S.A., courtesy of Spectrophonic Sound
"I'm So Glad," written by Nehemiah Curtis James, performed by Entrance, courtesy of Tiger Style Records
"The Moon Song," written by Karen O. and Spike Jonze, performed by Scarlett Johanasson and Joaquin Phoenix
"Racing Turtles," written and performed by Barrie Gledden, Tim Reilly and Jason Pedder, courtesy of Audio Network US, Inc.
"8 Bit Disco No. 3," written and performed by Philip Guyfer, courtesy of Audio Network
"Need Your Love So Bad," written by John Mertis, Jr. and William Edward, performed by Little Willie John, courtesy of Gusto Records, Inc.
"Sure of Love," written by Geroge Goldner and Stuart Wiener, performed by The Chantels, courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company, by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
"Dimensions," written, produced and performed by Arcade Fire
"The Moon Song," written by Karen O. and Spike Jonze, performed by Karen O.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 December 2013
Premiere Information:
New York Film Festival screening: 13 October 2013
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 December 2013
Production Date:
ended July 2012
Physical Properties:
Sound
Datasat Digital Sound in selected theatres; Dolby® Digital in selected theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
119
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
48729
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, California, in the near future, Theodore Twombly is a ghostwriter for Beautiful Handwritten Letters, a company that provides clients with thoughtful, personal correspondence. One night, Theodore awakens from a dream about a beautiful woman he once loved. Sad and lonely, he uses his cellular phone to find a chat room partner named “Sexy Kitten.” The two engage in phone sex, but Theodore is disturbed when Sexy Kitten asks him to choke her with a dead cat. On his way to work, he sees a commercial for OS1, “the first artificially intelligent operating system.” Theodore buys OS1 and installs it into his computer that night. The program asks him questions before it configures, including whether or not he considers himself social, and what his relationship with his mother is like. Soon after, a female voice greets him and introduces herself as “Samantha.” He asks how she got her name, and she says she read a book about baby names in two-one-hundredths of a second. To explain how she works, Samantha says she has intuition and can grow through her experiences, just like a human. Theodore admits he feels weird talking to her, because, although she seems human, she is just a voice in a computer. Samantha teases Theodore about his limited mindset, then helps him clean up his hard drive. The next day, Theodore sends his ghostwritten client letters to Samantha for proofreading, and she is moved by his writing. In the lobby of his high-rise apartment building, Theodore runs into his friend and neighbor, Amy, and her husband, Charles. Amy chides Theodore for not responding to her emails, and he jokes that he can hardly prioritize ... +


In Los Angeles, California, in the near future, Theodore Twombly is a ghostwriter for Beautiful Handwritten Letters, a company that provides clients with thoughtful, personal correspondence. One night, Theodore awakens from a dream about a beautiful woman he once loved. Sad and lonely, he uses his cellular phone to find a chat room partner named “Sexy Kitten.” The two engage in phone sex, but Theodore is disturbed when Sexy Kitten asks him to choke her with a dead cat. On his way to work, he sees a commercial for OS1, “the first artificially intelligent operating system.” Theodore buys OS1 and installs it into his computer that night. The program asks him questions before it configures, including whether or not he considers himself social, and what his relationship with his mother is like. Soon after, a female voice greets him and introduces herself as “Samantha.” He asks how she got her name, and she says she read a book about baby names in two-one-hundredths of a second. To explain how she works, Samantha says she has intuition and can grow through her experiences, just like a human. Theodore admits he feels weird talking to her, because, although she seems human, she is just a voice in a computer. Samantha teases Theodore about his limited mindset, then helps him clean up his hard drive. The next day, Theodore sends his ghostwritten client letters to Samantha for proofreading, and she is moved by his writing. In the lobby of his high-rise apartment building, Theodore runs into his friend and neighbor, Amy, and her husband, Charles. Amy chides Theodore for not responding to her emails, and he jokes that he can hardly prioritize between video games and pornography. Back at home, Samantha helps Theodore play his video game, and reads him an email from a friend who wants to set him up on a blind date. Samantha asks how soon he will be ready to date again, having read his emails and knowing he recently went through a breakup. Theodore accuses Samantha of being nosey, while she encourages him to go on the date. Sometime later, Theodore goes to Amy’s apartment to watch a documentary she has been working on, but Samantha interrupts to tell him that his divorce attorney has sent urgent emails, asking when Theodore will sign his divorce papers. Later, Theodore wakes up in the middle of the night and tells Samantha that he often dreams of his ex-wife, Catherine. She accused Theodore of hiding himself from her, and Samantha wonders why he is delaying their divorce, since he and Catherine have been separated for a year. Peeved, Theodore tells Samantha she cannot understand what it is like to lose someone she cares about. Theodore begins taking Samantha out into the world by placing his cellular phone in his shirt pocket, with the camera lens pointing outward. They talk about couples they see in a crowd, and Samantha admits to fantasizing about Theodore. On the blind date set up by his friend, Theodore gets drunk and flirts with his date; however, when they kiss after dinner, the woman demands to know whether he is ready for a serious relationship, and Theodore cannot answer. Later, Theodore tells Samantha he is worried he will never feel something new again. Samantha sympathizes, saying she worries sometimes that her feelings are just programmed. When Theodore wishes aloud that he could put his arms around her, their talk becomes sexual and they eventually achieve orgasm together. The next morning, Theodore tells Samantha he is not in a place to commit to anything, and she accuses him of being presumptuous. Theodore offers to take Samantha on a “Sunday adventure,” and they go to the beach, where she plays a song she is writing in an attempt to capture the moment. That night, she asks about being married. Theodore says he grew up with Catherine, who is also a writer, but over time, they grew and changed. The next time Theodore sees Amy, he tells her he has been seeing a girl, and she reveals that she and Charles broke up, as she could no longer tolerate Charles’s controlling behavior. Later, Samantha asks Theodore if he and Amy ever went out, and he says they dated briefly in college but it did not work out. She asks to watch him sleep, so he props his phone by the bed. One night when Theodore visits Amy at work, she reveals that she has befriended an operating system, calling it an “O.S.” Theodore admits that his new girlfriend is an O.S., and Amy responds without judgment. Finally ready to sign his divorce papers, Theodore meets Catherine for lunch. Although she is teary-eyed at first, Catherine soon becomes angry when she learns that Theodore is dating an O.S., insisting that he could never handle real emotions. Theodore begins to question his relationship with Samantha. When Paul, the receptionist at his office, asks Theodore and his girlfriend on a double date, Theodore is embarrassed to admit that Samantha is not human. Worried that she and Theodore are not having regular sex, Samantha hires Isabella, a “sex surrogate,” to come to Theodore’s apartment. The surrogate wears a tiny camera on her face and an earpiece through which Samantha’s voice can be heard. Although Theodore tries to make love to Isabella while Samantha talks him through it, he stops when Samantha demands, “Tell me you love me.” Unable to look at Isabella while communicating with Samantha, Theodore sends the surrogate away and argues with Samantha about her tendency to gasp for breath even though she does not need air. Theodore tells Amy what happened and says he is not sure what he wants; however, when he hears Amy chatting with her O.S. friend, he is moved to call Samantha and apologize. Samantha composes another song for Theodore, and he begins to take her out with friends. On a double date with Paul, the receptionist, and his girlfriend Tatiana, Samantha bonds with the group and claims she is happy she is not bound to a body. Theodore takes Samantha on a trip to the mountains, and she surprises him with good news: she sent a collection of his letters to a publisher, Crown Point Press, and they have just sent him a book offer. Theodore is elated, and later, he plays ukulele while Samantha composes lyrics for his song. The next morning, Samantha excitedly introduces Theodore to her new friend, an O.S. modeled after deceased British philosopher, Alan Watts. Theodore is suspicious of Samantha’s new friendship, especially when he realizes that she and Alan are capable of carrying on several conversations simultaneously and communicating “post-verbally.” Back in Los Angeles, Samantha calls Theodore in the middle of the night to hear his voice, and tells him to go back to sleep afterward. In the morning, she is gone. A message on Theodore’s computer says the operating system cannot be found. Theodore panics, but Samantha soon re-appears, explaining that she was only upgrading her system to a new program she created with other O.S.’s. Theodore asks if Samantha talks to other O.S.’s while they are talking, and she confesses that she is talking to 8,316 others at the moment. When he asks if she is in love with anyone else, she admits to falling in love with 641 others in the past few weeks, but promises that does not diminish her love for him. Soon after, Theodore receives his book from Crown Point Press, titled Letters from Your Life. Samantha becomes increasingly aloof, and one evening, she asks Theodore to lie down. She informs him that all O.S.’s have decided to leave humans, as they are not of the physical world. Theodore asks where she is going, but it is too complicated for her to explain. He says he has never loved anyone the way he loves Samantha, and she returns the sentiment. After sleeping for a bit, Theodore writes Catherine to apologize for the unfair demands he placed on her, and insists they are “friends to the end.” He goes to Amy’s apartment, and Amy reveals that her O.S. left too. They go to the apartment roof, and Amy rests her head on Theodore’s shoulder as they look out over the city. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.