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Released in 2013
Directed by Spike Jonze
TL;DR – An oddly touching, subtly realistic look at the future of humans, relationships and how technology plays a role in our lives. Spike Jonze expertly directs a story and cast that many people may simply dismiss as being ridiculous. Even I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would. 9/10
What I really, really loved about “her” was that it didn’t take it’s science fiction aspects too far. Rather than having people teleporting to distant planets and traversing cityscapes in flying cars, the world in “her” is very similar to the one we live in today, but with a few subtle differences. It takes our world of smart phones and electronics and “enhances” them to show how these objects that are already an every day part of our lives become a literal way of life.
Theodore is a lonely man who writes for a letter writing service that specializes in love letters. In his spare time he plays video games, listens to music and has awkward conversations with women. When he hears of a new operating system simply titled “OS1” he purchases it while taking the “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness” slogan with a grain of salt. After answering a series of questions to “personalize” the OS, we meet Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. They “get to know” eachother through a series of conversations, music listening and experiences that Theodore can share with her via the camera.
As cheesy as some of of the moments throughout “her” seems, Theodore spinning around, laughing with his arm outstretched clutching his phone like a typical 90’s rom-com, the late night conversations in bed and, eventually, a very intense sex scene that we experience via audio only, I was absolutely hooked and involved the entire time.
This is a film that relies 100% on excellent performances and oh boy, do we have some excellent performances. Joaquin Phoenix is the perfect choice with his odd mannerisms, awkward speech and syntax alongside ScarJo’s inquisitive, confident characterization. Even the minor characters, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt et all are absolutely perfect in their performances.
As the plot progresses, we see different levels of humanity go in to Theodore’s relationship with Samantha such as jealousy, trust issues and general annoyances, juxtaposed against his real life relationships. It’s a really great contrast and a clever one, bringing to mind how we all communicate via Skype or Facetime that while it IS interaction it lacks a certain sense of connection. Irony at it’s “Always on” finest.
“her” is a beautifully shot, oddball of a film. It completely takes you in if you allow it, and it’s real easy to fall in to with fantastic performances, unique concepts and ideas that are startlingly close to the current state of humanity today.