Best Picture Cheeses: 'Her'

One of the best new cheeses around is Miranda, an absinthe-washed wonder lovingly crafted by Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery. Starting out as a cheesemaker in Brooklyn, Vulto aged cheese in a crawlspace beneath a city sidewalk, and now operates a creamery in Walton, NY, just a few hours north of New York City. Vulto Creamery represents no-nonsense cheesemaking at its best, honoring the milk of the animals and the tradition of making cheese by hand and in small batches.

The story of this cheese is tied to loss; Miranda is named after Vulto's late wife, who passed away in 2012. And it's a beautiful tribute: a button of creamy curd washed in Meadow of Love absinthe and covered in waterfall-like striations, its semi-firm rind giving way to a silky paste that faintly oozes. Miranda is less stinky than funky, and its complexity of flavor—from milky and buttery to eggy and fruity, all with a dash of salt—make it appealing to both delicate palates and the snobbiest cheesehounds.

A clear cine-panion to this dreamy cheese is Her, Spike Jonze’s romantic tale set in a future of artificial intelligence and high waistlines, which tells a straightforward story of man and machine. In this case, the machine is Her, an operating system that’s also a woman—elusive and invisible, with DNA of ones and zeroes. Voiced by Scarlett Johansson, the OS goes by Samantha and promptly inserts herself into the life of one Theodore Twombley. Played with awkward brilliance by Joaquin Phoenix, Theodore has lost much—his wife, for one, and also a more general sense of belonging in the world. Samantha brings him an (almost-human) interaction he sorely needs, a device to work through the persistent melancholy of his life, if not to overcome it. As their relationship blossoms, layers of Theodore’s world give way to reveal a sublime underbelly of love and companionship.

For merging the melancholy with the transcendent, my cheese for Her is Miranda.