Love, philosophy and artificial intelligence.
Call the culture police-there’s been a robbery, well a few actually, of Oscar nominations.
Spike Jonze not being recognised by Oscar for directing and Joaquin Phoenix for his incredible acting skills.
This is not the first time this has happened for either of them. Jonze won best screenplay this year and was the film was nominated for Best Film but no Best Director nod. Strange.
Joaquin was snubbed by missing out on a Best Actor nom, a massive crime.
Now, some might say that award ceremonies are a bunch of back-slapping sycophancy fests, and that may be true, but when such incredible work is left in the dark it begs the question, WTF? It has won plenty of awards at other ceremonies so, why no Oscar recognition in the major categories?
Spike Jonze has written and directed an incredibly beautiful, profound tale about a writer, Theodore Twombly (played with soulful sensitivity by Phoenix) who has recently come out of a relationship and strikes up a new one with an O.S..
Yes, that’s right, an operating system (voiced with wonderful texture and depth by Scarlett Johansson).
Therein lies the premise.
The O.S. is an artificially intelligent program that learns and adapts as it lives, and a relationship akin to a deep human one is born.
It asks questions and challenges the audience to leave their prejudices at the door. If this relationship is making someone happy, both the human and machine, what is the problem?
Just because it challenges the norm, does that make it wrong?
History is full of these kind of events that buck the system and thank goodness.
The exponential growth of Samantha, the O.S., is also fascinating working on many dimensions and layers. When and where does technology end and life begin?
The beauty of art is the way it asks questions, sometimes subtly and others blatantly, both are valid but satisfy different tastes. Jonze opts for the gentler approach, no less emotional, but definitely more of a feminine one. The divine goddess rears her head again.
This is pretty much the best love story made in many years. It is similar in tone to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is no big surprise, seeing as Jonze had worked with Kaufman twice already and apparently introduced Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman; they clearly share similar sensibilities.
There is great support from Chris Pratt, whose star is definitely on the rise, Amy Adams, always bringing interesting work to the table, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde.
Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson create a beautiful, real, layered relationship whilst sharing no screen time together. That is incredible.
The powerful illusion of cinema. Art at its finest.