3 years ago1,000+ Views
Here's an idea: 2013's Her, written/directed by Spike Jonze, gives us an idea of the past, present, and future in one scene. Let's check it out.

The Present

The scene opens on Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) laying on the beach listening to a song on piano played by the operating system he's in a relationship with; Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As the scene moves on we get shots of the ocean obscured by other beach-goers, then another shot of the ocean during a sunset. Spike Jonze shows us the "now" that Samantha is referring to. It's almost as if Jonze let's us see through Samantha's eyes for a second.

The Future

The glimpse into the future in this scene isn't told through dialogue or the narrative but through it's visuals. If you didn't know the premise of the movie, what time period would you assume this was? Would your first answer be: "It's definitely a world where people have smartphones that have their own personality"? Probably not.
Jonze's use of pastel colors, tucked in shirts, and higher waisted pants (I'm not even sure if that's the right term what I'm trying to describe) is a subtle hint at the idea that fashion is cyclical. It's a subconscious commentary on the way society gravitates towards fashion trends from the past while making it their own. If you watch the movie again, pay special notice to the props and costume design throughout the film and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The Past

Right when Theodore says, "I think you captured it" to Samantha, he immediately gets asked what his former marriage was like. During this scene, Theodore's voice is quiet and soft, Jonze edits images of the past while he's talking, almost as if we're seeing the past through Theodore's eyes. His voice cracks and creaks as he recaps the downfall of his marriage and his eventual apology to Samantha. Then Samantha says one of the most human lines in the film, the past just a story we tell ourselves.
In a couple of sentences, Samantha sums up this whole scene and essentially tells the viewer how this idea of the past informs the way we live our lives now and the way we will continue to live our lives in the future. Theodore's apology to Samantha comes from his past, it comes from the way he wasn't capable of properly dealing with his relationships. It's a "story he tells himself" in order to remember how to change for the better.
The "story we tell ourselves" -- our past -- affects our lives everyday. We want always want to be better than we were yesterday. Which is a good thing, right? But after this scene, how true is that story we tell ourselves. Are our pasts really what we remember them to be or are they just another story?
Personally, I'm unsure of what's real and what isn't when I recall certain events in my life. I always want to remember things the way I want to. Even if it means I'm not remembering the whole thing. But that's my cross to carry, haha.
But what do you guys think? What do you think of the scene? The past? Jonze's depiction of the future? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below. Also, I finally put all these "One Minute Film Analysis" posts into a collection, so if you've been enjoying the past few days be sure to follow it. Thanks!
View more comments
@jeff4122 The 1950s!! Yes, totally! I was struggling a bit with where to place where the fashion influences came from and as I read your comment it was like a lightbulb went off in my skull! And you're totally right about the sound, I could probably dedicate another card to the sound design within this movie. It's sort of weird about the idea behind "the past" as well, I think we all connect to it in that way while it's still so subjective to one's experience. I love how he captured that in this scene.
@nicolejb, Yeah, the small cast list makes everything so much more intimate, so much closer than other romance/dramas. I'd relate that to, like, reading a short story that's a part of a collection that all take place in the same world. We really got to know every character. We laughed and cried (we're always crying, haha!) with them instead of just watching them.
@paulisaverage It also makes the relationship seem real! I mean an man and an operating system? It seems almost laughable without actually watching the film. The depth of character they creating in the film actually sold me to the bizarre idea.
@nicolejb 100% FULL SUCCESS. While I was writing this I completely forgot that Scarlett plays a robot, basically. And the movie really succeeds in that way as well. Like, once they started talking and stuff Joaquin's character seemed more "robotic" than she did!
@paulisaverage weird how good screenwriting, editing and some great acting can make the film so believable. way to go Spike Jonze!