If you’re going to watch a prickly, borderline aggressive confrontation between a journalist and a filmmaker, the filmmaker may as well have Spike Jonze’s voice. Jonze got into it last Friday with BBC Newsnight host Emily Maitlis when Maitlis referred to his Oscar-nominated film Her as a film about “falling in love with your software.” Jonze, wearing a jacket seemingly stolen from his own film set, and the weary countenance of a man who had sat through perhaps one too many Oscar-season junket interviews, proceeded to correctify her from the sun-bleached hills of Hollywood about the themes of his film. He maintains that Her, a movie about a man who falls in love with an advanced artificial intelligence system, is purely a love story. “To me it’s not a movie about technology and society, it’s not a commentary on that. That’s the setting … Really, the movie’s about finding intimacy with somebody else, outside of yourself.” The rest of the interview consists of Jonze’s repeated demands for Maitlis to verbally confirm that she had an emotional experience while watching Her. “Emily — Emily — Emily, don’t avoid this question! You weren’t moved by the film?” Yeah, it’s basically that for four minutes.
Maitlis later took to Twitter to let loose with her personal opinion of Her, which is, predictably, not too charitable. So yeah, maybe she missed the point of the film, but isn’t it also a little naïve to insist that Her has nothing to say about technology and society? Maybe the next person who interviews Jonze should just send a down-for-whatever surrogate instead.