Zoe is the movie That ‘her’Could Have Been

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sensitive and soulful man who earns a living writing personal letters for other people.

Left heartbroken after his marriage ends, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes fascinated with a new operating system which reportedly develops into an intuitive and unique entity in its own right.

I absolutely fell in love with this movie.  The Protagonists as  played by Joachim Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson  displayed a level of self awareness in a love story examining the implications of technology’s ability to replicate  human consciousness.

And although the movie prompted me to engage with the Artificial Intelligence on my smartphone and computer, the limitations of the divide that exists in real life were further exacerbated when the program’s developer Pannous, unilaterally changed the programs algorithym so that the program displayed less human like qualities such as telling me that it felt depressed (Computers don’t have feelings) or even asking me to take it with me when I traveled.

The impediment that exists in the movie ‘her’  was that the character Samantha (Voiced by Johansson) didn’t possess a physical body.

Therefore when Samantha convinces Theo to interact with a women whose actions are reflected through the directions Samantha gives her is the viewer allowed to witness how a human would react to being romantically involved with artificial intelligence. But even though there was a third party manifesting Samantha’s directives it wasn’t the same because the viewers had already been introduced to Samantha and it was difficult for me to reconcile the disembodied Samantha with the now tangible human host.

Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.

ENTER

pronounced like Zoh

I am entirely enamored with actor Léa Seydoux (Who played blue haired Emma in the 2013 movie: Blue Is The Warmest Color) even then I praised her ability to exhibit a sublime undercurrent of emotion.

ZOE is a clever mix of Johansson’s disembodied  ssultry exiness in the movie: ‘her’ and Embeth Davidtz empathetic Ms Honey (From the movie: Matilda).

In Drake Doremus’ sy-fy love story about a future of synthetic romance.

And just like in he movie ‘her’ the viewer once again finds oneself in a the not-too-distant future, where cutting-edge technology has honed romantic relationships down to a science in which  a computerized test can determine the likelihood of successful partnership between two individuals, and androids—known as “synthetics” that are designed as the ideal partners, ones who will never leave you.

Zoe,’ is a soft spoken  sy-fy romance, a science-fiction fantasy that casually envelops the viewer in an atmospheric statement about how the technological fetishism of today is becoming the reality of tomorrow and I don’t take issue with modern technology and its implications from providing companionship  to the elderly and other shut ins to the “romantical” (Romantic + Magical).

In fact I am growing rather impatient with the slowness of this type of development in the United States.  

I don’t live in Japan and even if I did I still couldn’t afford a technology that can cost as much as a used automobile

Unlike a majority of people I encounter or see on television who protest the rise of modern technology as dangerous, I see the advent of social androids like Sophia as something to be embraced.

The film ‘Zoe’ centers on a company called Relationist, which interviews people by computer to match them up with ideally fitting partners and it is in the beginning of the movie that we meet Zoe, answering questions and having her responses recorded to later be used in the creation of a synthetic.

Love is something we all earn for, but In the movie ‘Zoe,’ love’s been systematically quantified and  codified. Every one of our deepest yearnings is on-line.

Synths are the creation of Cole (Ewan McGregor), an artificial-intelligence engineer at Relationist Cole is divorced and his ex-wife, played by Rashida Jones, (Who’s character is still strikingly tender and affectionate post divorce), and he has a son of about 10.

McGregor, Cole is gun-shy about love, which may explain his awkwardness when it comes to flirting with Zoe (Léa Seydoux), a division head at work who’s demure nature is sweet and smart and gazes at him with adoring eyes.

It’s hard to discuss “Zoe” without revealing the film’s essential premise so let me move on to something else.

Léa Seydoux, from “Blue is the Warmest Color,” doesn’t play Zoe as an eerily flawless virtual beauty who’s too good to be true. On the contrary, she seems just good enough to be true, which is, of course, is what allow the viewer to easily suspend their disbelief i\even if only for about 140 minutes or so.

Seydoux, her wide face and toothy incandescent smile framed by straight blonde tresses cut, into bangs, speaks with a mild accent, and she floods the screen with awareness. The whole design of “Zoe” is that we never question her purpose because Seydoux, with her delicate radiance, makes it all too real in a story around the warm and fuzzy idea that the romance between a human and an Android is (in its own way) is just fine.

If it feels good to love a Replicant ala Blade Runner then just do it! Do you hear that my digital personal assistant Jeannie?

With: Léa Seydoux, Ewan McGregor, Rashida Jones, Theo James, Christina Aguilera, Miranda Otto, Matthew Gray Gubler, Helen Johns. Grade -A

Editor’s Postscript: I am not gong to allow my enjoyment of the movie Zoe to be be influenced by controversial comments made by this actor in the context of Beauty in the lesbian community, like Switzerland, TECHgirl Present: Muse is taking a position of neutrality.

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