Last Friday, director Spike Jonze went on the BBC’s Newsnight to discuss his Oscar-nominated film Her. Journalist Emily Maitlis kicked off the interview by asking Jonze to talk about the idea of “falling in love with your software”—and things immediately got a little weird. Jonze countered that the movie isn’t about people's interaction with technology, but rather that it’s “a love story and a relationship story.” As Jonze pressed Maitlis with questions about how she felt while watching it, trying to elicit an emotional reaction, Maitlis continued to focus on the movie’s science-fiction aspects. Meanwhile, the audience wrung its hands and wished the two would just talk about Scarlett Johansson’s Oscar dress or something. It all made for fairly awkward television.
Later, Maitlis took to Twitter to blow off some steam: "Ok .now I can tell you what I thought of
#her,” she wrote. “Sad, male fetish fantasy of disembodied female who does his bidding." Jonze hasn’t responded to that, which—depending on which of the two you ask—could mean he's unwilling to interact meaningfully with a non-autonomous woman, or he has trouble making real human connections in this fast-paced, technology-driven, workaday world. (Or he hasn’t seen it yet.)