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Spike Jonze is impish, youthful, awkward, inventive, creative, curious,sensitive, geeky, self-absorbed. Yes or no? Well, I don’t know the guy personally but if he was making his own internet dating profile, would he describe himself in such terms? Or would he just scrap the profile, simply provide links to his online inamorata so they could view his cinematic resume online? Would they have a fuller grasp of Jonzes’ personality having viewed his four features to date? Four features in 15 years.

in that period, he’s also produced Jackass and it’s several big screen spinoffs, continued to direct music videos and short films and even turned up as an occasional actor in moneyball and most recently as a geeky type in the Wolf of Wall Street. A restless and productive guy it seems. But who is he? Well, all of his films focus on some very modern anxieties; his protags feel trapped in their own minds, aching for connection, brittle insecure creative types prone to morbid self-reflection.</

Her is Spike Jonze first solo original screenplay credit and it seems that he is burrowing nay disappearing ever deeper into his own psyche. The film is an often quite narrow view of a possible utopia, personalizing a future landscape that is tastefully uniform and it’s population seems to thrive. It’s a Los Angeles of sleek architectural surfaces, utilitarian design and geek chic attire; an optimistic, aspirational vision seemingly worlds apart from the pessimistic, industrialized LA nightmare of Ridley Scott’s iconic Blade Runner.

The great Joaquin Phoenix’s inhabits a character named Theodore Twombly who works as a handwritten letter writer (!) living in a spacious, minimalist apartment who falls in love with an operating system, embodied by the voice of Scarlett Johansson.

So far, so twee right? And yes, the whispy Arcade Fire soundtrack does little to dispel the notion that Jonze film is a love story for the hip set but the film is a pretty squirm inducing yet oft moving and painfully funny dissection of how we live now through a future prism.

The film raises some intriguing questions about technology; our relationship with it, how it is and how it could evolve into a very personal and emotional bond if as Jonze suggests, the physical element of a relationship overrided by the head, the imagination.

Through Theodore and Samantha’s odd romance, the film examines the very nature of love, sexuality, intelligence and the soul. That the film almost pulls off this feat despite its frequent navel gazing and quirkiness is a tribute to the strength of Jonzes skewed and oft humorous ideas, the excellent cast and a wonderfully artful realization of a world not too far removed from our own, Think Scandi Retro meets Far East futurism.

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