Simon Reynolds

Spike Jonze's 'Her' a refreshingly original take on a future L.A.

The most surprising thing about "Her," the new Spike Jonze movie, is not that it dares to suggest an otherwise sane person might fall in love with the operating system that runs his computer and his smartphone. Or that middle-aged men look good in high-waisted pants. Or that it will be possible someday soon to ride a subway from downtown Los Angeles to the beach.

It is something simpler: that the near future is more interesting, culturally and architecturally, than the recent past.

Thanks to the digital revolution of the last two decades, it has become remarkably easy for filmmakers — and for songwriters, architects, novelists and car designers — to dip into a...