If you haven’t seen Spike Jonze’s latest offering Her yet then I’m here principally to ask what in God’s name you’re doing with your time, as everybody seems to be talking about the film’s quietly unsettling subject matter. It does fall uncomfortably close to home; set in Los Angeles in 2025, the film is about a professional love letter writer, Theodore Twombly, who falls in love with his artificially intelligent operating system. The topic of society’s dependence on technology is intense and intimidating, but the overwhelmingly soft, almost retro aesthetic of the film is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.
And for that we have Geoff McFetridge of Champion Studio to thank; he was charged with contributing a huge number of visual elements to the film, not least the illustrations adorning the walls of Theodore’s office, the map of L.A.’s future transport systems, the titles and credits and, most importantly, the interfaces of all the computer software used.
The cursive handwriting that pops up on Theodore’s handheld every time his cyber girlfriend calls with her dulcet drawl, and the swirling patterns which mark her absence when he fears he might have lost her forever, spark strangely visceral reflexes in the viewer. This, is turn, begins interesting conversations regarding our already advanced emotional reflexes to digital media, with all of its icons, arrows and endlessly spinning beach balls. Geoff’s part in easing our acceptance of such a frightening criticism of cultural behaviour is without a doubt a large part of the film’s appeal; now just maybe we’ll think twice next time we start taking the piss out of Siri, or setting our sat navs to sound like Snoop Dogg.