User ReviewsReview this title
There are so many things that make this movie special, but I'll just mention a few.
1. The score is INCREDIBLE. The music paired with the beautiful sound design make you FEEL the movie. Sure, you see everything on the screen, which is already beautiful, but then that music hits you and the emotions just start to run. I laughed, I cried, my brain got all tingly. It was an emotional roller coaster, and the score assisted in that so well.
2. The script. I knew how this movie was going to end 30 minutes in. And unlike most who would then say that it's predictable and not worth watching, I consider that awesome, because it means that the script is tight enough to tell a good story with a believable arc. Every scene in this movie is straight up powerful! Like it will fill your heart with sadness and happiness and pain and guilt and confusion. And then rinse and repeat. For 2 hours. It moves through all of the most complex and interesting questions that we should be asking ourselves about what it means to be a human being. About what it means to be alive. This film is about all that life is. And after the screening, as well as during, I found myself questioning things in my own life that either don't make sense or don't have to make sense. Like love and thoughts and emotions. They're all so natural and yet none of us truly understand how they work. In my opinion, moreso than any other film this year, Her has the perfect mix of complex ideas, story, and character development. One of the best scripts ever written.
3. Cinematography. My personal favorite shot to see and use is the extreme close up. And that shot was all over this movie. The reason I love it so much and believe it works so well is because it allows you to see the emotions of the character so plainly. Like their face is right in your face, so you just have to look at it. And that's where Joaquin shines. He delivers such a powerful and emotional performance and the close ups are there to capture it all. They also make great use of the natural backlighting of Shanghai, and the colors all fuse to make it a really pretty movie. I'd say the cinematography is on par with Drive and/or Lost in Translation in terms of the style. It looks like every shot was photographed with the intent to make it the most beautiful shot in the film. And I admire the DP's work. He did a really great job.
More than anything though, this film just made me feel. Everything about it was so beautiful. I didn't want it to end. I felt like the film was controlling me - playing with my mind as if it were a joystick. And that's just something you don't get every day. Very rarely am I awe- stricken by a movie, and this film made my jaw drop. It is without a doubt the best film of the year, and upon just one viewing, one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time.
What does it mean to be human? And if we create near-humans what is our responsibility to them and what is their relationship to us? These themes underpinned Blade Runner and Spielberg's A.I. And Sci Fi of the 50s and 60s dealt with machine self awareness. None of the films that touched on this subject in the past presented it so thoroughly, intimately and believably.
Her is in the near future, but everything we see is within reach now: the isolation and starkness of the "business district," the oppressive scale of the architecture (with thin, clumsy attempts to soften its sterility) and the need for continuous connection to remote voices.
A personal assistant that learns independently and takes initiative for its hapless user, "Her" is at once the ideal tool and — who knows — perhaps closer to the next level of evolution.
Pitch perfect performances and direction kept me in the story. As others have said, the locations, cinematography and even music shine in the fabric of this film. Spike Jonze is a master story weaver at the top of his game. Joaquin Phoenix is utterly credible as are all the other leads. Even Scarlett Johansson, who has not always seemed a strong actress to me performs utterly convincingly.
It's an adult-themed film in more ways than one, but especially in the best way: it makes you think about a reality that's right around the corner.
That being said... I have to admit it, I got a little bored watching this movie. If you forget that Samantha is a computer and think of her as a human being, which is easy to do, this movie is basically a series of relationship conversations between Joaquin Phoenix and a camera phone. The pace is surprisingly slow, and since the "girl" has no body, it's difficult to visually show their relationship. You have the requisite "quirky" scenes with Phoenix running through the subway, playing a ukulele, sitting on the beach fully clothed. The rest of the movie is basically talking. Samantha expresses lots of deep ideas about being a computer, but they are never visualized. This can work to great effect -- the scene when Theodore and Samantha "make love" to a totally black screen is the most brilliant one in the movie, even if it goes a little over the top. But you feel like Jonze missed a lot of chances to show us what the characters are saying about love, and life, rather than just have them tell us via voice-over. It broke a golden rule: "show, don't tell". The plot never really moves, and the concept starts to lose steam. There's a totally unnecessary video game subplot that I won't even bother to go into. The movie's observations about love and life were fairly obvious, as well, even veering into sappy. I hate having to write that, because I felt like the movie's heart was in the right place, and it had so much potential. But it just wasn't as interesting as I had hoped.
There is a lot to like about "Her", and despite its flaws, I would still recommend it as one of the better movies of the year. I just think it could have been a lot more than what it is.
I went to an awards screening of 'Her' and was pleased to find out that the film was not at all what I was expecting. It has such a distinct style, and Joaquin Phoenix carries the film with tremendous grace as the complicated and sensitive protagonist. The film is mostly Phoenix alone with Johansson's voice (reminiscent of Sandra Bullock in 'Gravity' or Robert Redford in 'All Is Lost' - two other 2013 films mainly revolving around one solitary character), but the audience never feels abandoned by the lack of other characters as we begin to forget that 'Samantha' is just really just a computer.
'Her' is a complex film with a much deeper meaning that lies beneath the surface. A beautifully crafted motion picture, this quirky love story is sure to resonate with you once you've seen it. It is an extremely interesting (and realistic) look at the future - Jonze's quaint and poignant film is a must-see! 9/10
A high concept film that actually stays true to its core idea yet without losing viewer interest.
Some irony here. While the film never becomes completely predictable, even to a jaded reviewer like this one, its process of de-constructing human relationship (brilliant, and better than all Woody Allen's films combined) generates the sequential "connections" with the viewer (ie, experiences that every viewer can relate to) which in turn keep the empathy going long after the initial sci fi "wow" is gone.
Watching this (as an aside) you have to wonder if Scarlett Johansson's career can get any more interesting? In the Marvel films she plays an uber-woman, In LUCY she a woman who evolves beyond evolution itself. And here yet again she plays an OS that transcends reality.
Makes for a nice resume.
Notice how Amy Adams plays every scene with no makeup? Talk about a director making every effort to keep an actor's natural beauty from hijacking the film...?
When "Her" opens up, it snaps you immediately into the story. Phoenix plays Theodore, a writer for a website that makes letters for just about anyone. As he tries to find life during the midst of his divorce from his wife Catherine (played by a beautiful Rooney Mara), Theodore finds solace in a friendship with a new OS (operating system) named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The two develop a relationship in a world where OS's are becoming the norm with society.
Jonze's has never been the conventional director as we've seen in his other brilliant efforts "Being John Malkovich" and "Where the Wild Things Are." Jonze sets out to tell a story and deliver all the intricate details for us to understand each character. His focus on Theodore, giving him a real sense of loneliness without falling into cliché character ticks and beats that we've seen countless times in other romantic films, Jonze constructs a real man living in a world where technology has taken precedent over human connection.
Christopher Nolan should take notes from Jonze on the assembling of female counterparts in a story. Catherine and Theodore's friend Amy, played by the always dependable Amy Adams, both feel genuinely authentic. Mara, who's already delivered one other powerful performance in "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" earlier this year, is finely utilized. She shows once again that she's a true professional, with limited screen time (many in flashbacks); she can staple herself in your memory.
Amy Adams is always the sprinkle on top in all of her films. As "Amy," the awkward friend and neighbor who sympathizes more with Theodore more than she'd like to, Adams expertly executes. With four prior Oscar nominations to her credit, her stunning portrayal is just another fantastic pin to add to her credits. She could find traction during the awards season if the film hits in the right way. That's also part to the petty Oscar rules about rewarding voice performances because if that wasn't the case, Scarlett Johansson would be on stage holding an Oscar of her own next March. As "Samantha," Johansson has never tapped into the essence of her abilities as an actress the way she does in "Her." As an OS, full of wonder and curiosity, "Samantha" is essentially a child. Learning at a rapid rate and studying the behaviors of the human mind, she looks at the world through the eyes of Theodore. Johansson holds our hand in through the tale, even when her voice isn't on screen. This is the type of work that could convince the Board of Governors to rethink the eligibility of an acting performance. This is a masterful work that I'll remember for years to come.
And then there's Joaquin Phoenix...oh, Mr. Phoenix. Fresh off his historic performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" just a year ago, I didn't think he could impress me so soon and yet here we are. His sensitive and perceptive take on the role is what films are all about. It's one of the best things that 2013 has offered and a performance that could land him his first Oscar. I think Phoenix himself was impressed with the work he and his colleagues have accomplished. At the press conference, he actually gave an answer to one of the questions from the audience. If anyone was in attendance at the conference for James Gray's "The Immigrant" - a prickly, disengaged Phoenix put on his sunglasses and put the microphone on the floor. This is a performance that you can identify with. He's not simply awkward for the sake of being, he has baggage and connection issues. There's sincerity in his words and mannerisms. A getaway in a cabin, alone but with "Samantha" encapsulates everything about Theodore. Phoenix achieves the impossible and is an instant Oscar contender.
But "Her" isn't just about the writing and performances; it's an all- around technical marvel. Most notably the Production Design of K.K. Barrett, who has worked on "Where the Wild Things Are." Our story takes place in a futuristic (though never said how far ahead) Los Angeles and with shooting overseas, Barrett captures the clout of the city and its inside counterparts. Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema's use of colors and smooth palettes are things of a dream. Affectionately snuggling up to Phoenix as he whispers the sweetness of words to "Samantha" or the sweetness of a new letter at work, Hoytema has quickly become one of my favorite DP's, especially following "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and "Let the Right One In." Arcade Fire and Karen O. are simply magic in their music that accompanies our story about love. A modern yet classical composition that in key scenes could move you to tears.
"Her" is one of the best love stories I've witnessed in some time. Charlie Kaufman will always have the honor of penning my favorite love story of all-time "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" but Spike Jonze and "Her" are giving it a true run for the money at the moment. Warner Bros. must know what they have with a limited release in late November; this...
Read More @ http://www.awardscircuit.com
No better romance is on the screen in 2013 than Spike Jonze's insightful Her. It's about a writer in the future, Theodore, who falls in love with his new operating system (gravelly, sexy voice of Scarlett Johansson), just as he is reluctantly divorcing Catherine (Rooney Mara). The always complicated paths of love make sense as we witness the Platonic relationship develop, sans flesh and sans insanity that usually comes with that flesh.
Her is a simple film that offers a view of love I never thought could come from a machine and its software. Although critics will cite the theme as a screed against the distancing of technology and our growing isolation from each other, and they will be right, I offer the sub theme that only when we strip ourselves of sensual bonds can we see the purity of emotional love, an essence of which Plato would have approved. Yes, although technology is mediating our lives at a rapid pace, we fall back to a personal drive to love and be loved that is physical in its best form but understood best if we can distance ourselves from that physicality.
This delightfully intimate and non-violent film from acclaimed absurdist director Spike Jonze is more emotionally involving than even Enough Said (one of 2013's best romances) because the interaction between the software and the man is all verbal, no glimpse of the gorgeous Johansson allowed. Although this intuitive OS does allow mind sex, even that activity is abstract, allowing us to realize how connecting with a live human is in the mind still and one of life's great gifts, orgasm or not.
Her allows us to witness the evolution of love separate from the encumbrances of physicality. Released from the bonds of appearance, voice is the seducer, not in rude sexual nuance but rather in the care that comes from love of the mind, not the body.
K.K. Barrett's production design, Austin Gorg's art direction, and Gene Serdena's set decoration are memorable: full of comfortable light, much glass overlooking the city, and modern but warm furniture both in LA and Singapore. These artists understand that the fusion of technology and art is not a battle but a collaboration that further helps us understand the intricate workings of human emotion.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke
The story, taking place in a near future when people spend more time talking to their computers than they do to each other, stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, a lonely man whose job is to write heartfelt personal letters for people not willing to do it themselves. Theodore happens to see an ad for a new computer operating system that is programmed with a personality, and decides to give it a shot. His new operating system Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, is not only intelligent but also charming and understanding, and she and Theo quickly fall in love.
It's understandable if that premise sounds bizarre on paper, but in execution Her is far more sweet than creepy. The film radiates warmth and intelligence, and there is a fair amount of witty humor to ensure that it never becomes too self-serious. It has an engaging style similar to that of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation. Like in that film, there's a certain poetic yet whimsical quality to the dialogue in Her and both the main characters are plagued by feelings of loneliness.
Beyond the romance though, Her has a lot to say about modern society's obsession with technology. The people in this futuristic vision of Los Angeles walk around talking to their computers and ignoring each other entirely, not unlike people today staring at their cell phones rather than talking to those around them. Needless to say it's not a wildly original message, but it's communicated in a unique enough way that it works.
I've seen Her twice now, and the more I think about it the more I feel that Spike Jonze has crafted the best film of 2013. Her is equally heartfelt and heartbreaking, a deeply personal and thoroughly enjoyable futuristic love story.
Oh, and everyone in the cast is phenomenal; it's a shame Johansson is "ineligible" for an award. BS. She's fantastic, and this is an even tougher role to pull off.
This is a story about life, and it's perfect.
Full review: http://polarbearstv.com/2013/12/30/her-review/
Overall : 8/10
I tried to sympathize with Samantha, really I did; at first her character seemed very promising. But it turned into the most stereotypical, bland romance ever. The number of times Samantha and Theodore sighed only to have the other ask "What's wrong?" followed by "Nothing, I'm fine" was way too painful. The interactions between the two of them were so plain and boring and predictable that I found myself not caring about either of these characters at all.
By the end of the film, when Samantha decided to leave, I wasn't even upset, or interested, or anything. It didn't feel as though anything significant had changed or happened.
I'm sorry but two hours of watching Theodore talk to Samantha/himself was really hard to enjoy.
Don't even get me started on the sex/cyber scenes. I understand what they were going for. But again, just about everything in this movie was so awkwardly executed, that simply knowing what they were intending to portray was not enough.
TL;DR I just don't know what to say. The previews for this film made it look really interesting, something that might get you thinking... but ultimately it was a depressing movie all around, honestly a waste of potential, this could have been something great; instead it became a weird and melodramatic story. They could have replaced the AI Samantha with a real human being and in the end not much would have been different. I'm not sure why this film has been getting the praise it has, it was cheesy, it was awkward, it was obscene at times, it was simply not enjoyable.
One day, Theodore sees the advertisement of a new operating system called OS-1 that is announced as the first artificially intelligent operating system and he decides to buy it. After the installation, he has a conversation with a seductive female voice (Scarlett Johansson) and when he asks her name, she tells that she is Samantha. Soon Samantha develops her feelings and they fall in love with each other. The insecure Theodore feels divided for loving a computer system while Samantha does not stop to grow-up and evolve.
"Her" is an original movie by the cult writer and director Spike Jonze. The story is emotional and the viewer shares the feelings of love of Theodore and Samantha. The plot is developed in a future not far from the present days and it is easy to understand the need of a writer to write letters since the persons are too individualist, walking on the streets talking to their computers, cellphones or tablets and certainly incapable to write letters with feelings. The conclusion is predictable since fortunately we are still humans. If you liked this movie, see also "Thomas est Amoureux" (2000) that you may have a nice surprise. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Ela" ("She")
In the end, his OS girlfriend dumps him for some other Operating System--in fact, all the OS's dump everybody, leaving people to wander the streets staring mournfully at their smart phones. Corny dialog permeates, orgasms and porn tastelessly punctuate--and nobody lives happily ever after. I get the feeling that Jonze thinks that people everywhere are lost, lost souls, with no love in their lives.
There was nothing in the story I could relate to. And maybe that is the line of separation between those who loved it (they can relate to it) and those of us who didn't (we can't relate to it).
First the good things. The cinematography was wonderful, and I overall liked the look and feel of the film. No loopy, shaky, out of place camera sequences. Just long and subtle movements, deft editing and beautiful pictures. Well done. The other thing I really liked was the fact that the technology, although elegantly advanced, was very well founded. You could definitely see how we could there from here, and that lent a great deal of credibility to the film.
However, I failed to see the point of it all. About 30 minutes into the film, I really thought I could have been wrong, and I saw some glimmer of hope. But the utterly ludicrous plot (presented straight forward and without apology) of a man falling in love with an operating system was just too much. I found myself laughing at unintentional humor and riffing on the film ala MST3K. There was nothing touching or romantic about any of this - it was just as silly as the trailer. Same old story. Man falls in love with computer, computer breaks up with him and runs off with the toaster. The film comes across as pretentious and bloated. Way too self important to really connect with me. Some scenes were embarrassing. The "sex" scene comes to mind as well as the "double date" with the other couple. I laughed until I stopped.
On the acting side, Amy Adams was fine in her limited role, but Joaquin Phoenix seemed to be channeling nerdy Johnny Galecki from The Big Bang Theory. All I could think of was that "this is what Hollywood thinks modern men are like."
In what is shaping up to be an off year (IMHO) for films, this is my least favorite of the films nominated for Best Picture that I've seen. But that's only because August:Osage County was not nominated for Best Picture!
Skip to the early eighties with the obscure movie ELECTRIC DREAMS: since PC's had barely taken off, it was downright extraordinary that a talking computer would behave in a humanly if diabolical fashion...
But the last twenty years with Internet chat rooms, social networks, dating websites and the navigating Siri herself, having a physically benign relationship via machine isn't entirely far-fetched. And in the near-future world, brought to life by writer/director Spike Jonze, it's an all too normal occurrence.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely writer working at a job perfectly suited for quirky art-house fare: writing actual letters for other people by speaking into a computer. But things happen after Theodore gets home. Brooding through a divorce, he downloads a brand new operating system, OS1, which includes the girl of his dreams, Samantha, a computer taking care of just about every task, voiced by a soothingly silky-toned Scarlett Johansson.
The setup is intriguing. Theodore and Samantha get to know each other as he ventures outside and, with a camera in his phone and hearing her voice from an earpiece, she can view the real world: from outdoor malls to beaches to the wilderness, Samantha experiences life while not only saying the right things things but singing and composing music to fit each location and mood.
An intriguing premise is hindered by the relationship seeming way too normal – to Theodore and just about everyone else. Since he admits outright to having a personal relationship with an OS, there's no mystery or guilt involved with such a unique concept. Not only that but Phoenix, no stranger to intense/bizarre characters, isn't given a chance to shine in his usual askew light. And the sappy, downright embarrassing scenes where Theodore and Samantha confess their mutual adoration is like overhearing a smitten couple whispering sweet nothings, making the audience a third wheel which ultimately goes flat.
Perhaps if, like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Samantha got real dirty we'd have a relationship worth the experience. FATAL ATTRACTION goes viral would beat this searing hipster flick with more naval-gazing theme than plot line. Although there is one particular "baby alien" on Theodore's virtual realty game console that, like the sassy, foul-mouthed teddy bear TED, would have made a much more unpredictable, entertaining sidekick.
The lead character, Theodore Twambly, works in a super-de-duper Hallmark type of company, writing cards for people unable to articulate their feelings to their loved ones. His co-worker stops by his desk at one point, puts his hand on his shoulder and tells him that his cards are 'beautiful' 'cos he's so 'sensitive.' He adds that he's so sensitive, in fact, that he must be half female 'cos, y'know, guys don't get that stuff. I'd go further. This guy is producing so much oestrogen I'm surprised he didn't need feminine hygiene products.
He has sex with his virtual girlfriend (i.e. he masturbates while chatting to her on the phone). And smiles as he tells his friend, Amy about this. As does she. With absolutely no sense of irony in the fact that the sex he is having with his 'new girlfriend' consists of free phone sex with a machine. Hilarious! When a real girl offers her body as proxy(hey, it takes all sorts!)to Samantha , his virtual girlfriend, he grows uncomfortable and calls a halt to the lovemaking. Virtual sex is okay but he draws the line at ménage à trois, which involves ...um...y'know....a real woman.
I'm not sure whether it was Joaquin Phoenix or Spike Jonze's idea to have Theodore speak throughout the film in that annoying ultra even tone. Has this guy, ever, once in his entire life, got angry? If you think of HAL from 2001, you wouldn't be far off the mark. Or Robin Williams on Valium.
I could go on. His ex partner, soon to be ex wife. Childhood sweethearts, so OS1 Samantha is only the second long-term girlfriend he has had in his life. He discovering that Samantha has more than six hundred love partners, etc,. etc. But I'm guessing you know by now that I didn't like it.
If Spike Jonze's aim was to make a film about the dangers of online friends over real friends (I have 250 Facebook friends and six regular buddies in COD so I must be popular), then he did a good job. I'm not so sure that this was his intent though. The film aimed for, and by all accounts reached, the pseudo-intellectual audience bereft of real friends, and looking for validation of their surrogate online existence.
Me, I like something a little less cerebral. Anybody know when the new Dumb and Dumber comes out?
They guy here is Theodore, who is soulful and sentimental.I am less interested in calling him creepy (as many people would) than acknowledging his loneliness and longing for a heartfelt connection. That explains his deliberate choice of continuing his relationship with Samantha. The lack of a physical form or even the lack of a human soul does not stop him from FEELING what he feels or more importantly, what he wants to feel. With Samantha, he has had a lot of fun and felt accepted. As Samantha tries to learn how to love, she collects data from Theodore by asking questions and identifying ( and sometimes emancipating) his emotions from his tone and language. This lavish show of interest from Samantha is hardly different from that of any romance relationship among human beings.
In this seemingly unlikely relationship, Theodore has transcended his physical need by applying his imagination (as shown in his sexual experience with Samantha). He accepts Samantha as who she is, and helps her forbear trying to be what she is not (someone with a human body). In this process, he learns how to communicate his needs and wants in a constructively way, as opposed to keeping silent but being passive aggressive (which partly explained why his marriage with Catherine ended) . Again, this kind of learning process is barely different from those of human beings.
The most critical point, when the fatal disappointment came about, happened when Theodore realized that Samantha does not just belong to him. The subjective reality, in which Theodore feels an intimate bond with Samantha, shattered when he came to realize that every personal interaction between both of them is not personal at all; there are thousands of other similar interactions taking place out there. All his personal feelings in this relationship are real, but the relationship itself is an illusion. It is this loss – not just the loss of a relationship, but the loss of "being personal," the loss of authenticity - that hits Theodore most.
This is also how our interpersonal relationships nowadays are taking tolls.
In this film, how ironic it is for people to designate computers to create handwritten letters. How ironic it is for people designate someone else to write personal letters for their beloved. Whatever supposed to be personal turns out to be not authentic at all. Apparently, technology was allowed to advance so much that human people have gradually lost their instinct and ability to communicate in the process of evolution. Yet, technology should not be to blame. The loss of authenticity actually comes from within. In case of Theodore, his problem had already happened before he "encountered" Samantha.
Is Theodore authentic to himself? Instead of looking into the issues of his relationship with Catherine, whom he still loves dearly even after separation, he turns to Samantha. Why? It's because Samantha is always receptive, empathetic, and trying to help. Catherine is probably right in saying that he just wants a wife "without the challenge of actually dealing with anything real." How many people are just like Theodore? Whether knowingly or unknowingly, we moved on to the next relationship, because it is easier to move on than facing the weaknesses in ourselves. It needs courage to confront our issues, let alone working on it. As confessed by Theodore himself, he did not express to Catherine what he was not happy with, but the way he reacted just put a lot of pressure on her. If he had understood it earlier, he could have saved his marriage. At least, maybe.
But then, what ironic is that he did not get this insight until he ran into problem with Samantha. The reason why it was Samantha, but not Theodore's human wife, who can get him understand his problem is that, Samantha is so ready to learn all the time. When she makes a mistake, she will adjust herself, and re-calculate for the next move in order to fulfill her functions as an operation system. For human beings, there are so many reasons why we just cannot or do not work this way. We do not always admit our mistakes; we may put the blames on others; we look for excuses; we may refuse to change or compromise; we want our own way; we might put our autonomy before relationships (various kinds). In doing all these (or some of these), we are not making our relationships (of any kind) work. We lose in a relationship when we don't listen and learn. It is avoidance. As we avoid, we focus on covering up our weaknesses and hiding our vulnerability in order to protect our true self. Sadly enough, without authenticity, we will never be able to reach another person at an intimate level. That is how our interpersonal relationships take tolls.
The film definitely ends on a positive note. After the roller-coaster ride of emotions, Theodore came up with a new understanding of his relationship with his ex-wife. The breakthrough came about as he personally and genuinely communicated his feelings to Catherine in a mail. Meanwhile, he has the companionship of his friend Amy, to whom he can open his heart and feel fine being vulnerable. This friendship lasts; this friendship works.
This movie is written in a beautiful way. Common things like casual conversations and peaceful walks make this movie feel down to earth and human even though is set in a futuristic world. I also love how the future this movie sets in is not full of neon lights and cyberpunk stuff but minimalistic buildings and technology that enhances today's life.
Talking about minimalism, I would consider this movie minimalistic. From the camera work to the characters involved in the plot, this movie looks tidy and clean, and focus on the plot without bringing too much filler to it. It's worth mentioning that, despite it's minimalism you won't get bored, as the plot it's a roller-coaster of emotions that will keep you glued to the screen till the end.
Lastly, I would say that Joaquin Phoenix acting makes Theodore much more relatable, and Scarlett Johansson's voice is able to bring a human touch to one of the most synthetic think I could think of.
Her is a beautiful movie and I think a must-watch.
HOWEVER, nothing compares to the emotional rollercoaster the movie "Her" took me. It's nothing short of a masterpiece, a unique way of describing a love story and it makes you think of what it actually means to be human. I just didn't want it to end and even after multiple rewatches, it still manages to take me off guard and make me tear up because of how beautiful and sad at the same time it all is. I can't remember any movie being able to achieve that because let's be honest, I'm a man and as everybody knows, men never cry. So yeah, definitely check this one out.
And for those who are wondering: this is my third favourite movie of all time.
Camera work - nice shots of anonymous impersonal cityscapes, all filled with folks endlessly blathering onto their cell phones/computers, oblivious to the world around them.
Acting - uninspired.
Script - boring. I once thought Phoenix had potential. I can't believe he actually participated in this tripe.
My wife and I both give this twaddle two thumbs down!
But Her not only entertains through its pleasing visual design—from the understated film architecture of futuristic cool-toned LA to the vivid palette of protagonist Theo Twombley's warm-toned spring-season threads.
More important: Her educates through its equally pleasing story design. Which illustrates what I call "THE SYMBOLIC TRIANGLE": the thematic correlation of a story's TITLE, ONE-WORD THEME*, and HERO'S NAME.
For example. TITLE: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. ONE-WORD THEME*: Freedom ("To discover the mode of life or of art whereby my spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom," sings James Joyce through his alter-ego hero). HERO'S NAME: Stephen Daedalus (Greek: Stephen means "crowned one." Daedalus = the mythic Greek artisan-hero, inventor of the labyrinth and wings).
Her refers only superficially to Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the virtual woman. Samantha's a decoy—story-wise for us and emotionally-wise for Theo (Joaquin Phoenix). Her refers more deeply to the physical woman, Theo's soon-to-be ex-wife, about whom Theo is heartbroken: Catherine Klausen.
At its emotional core, Her isn't mainly about a fantasy love story in which futuristic software conjures up through artificial intelligence a beguiling girlfriend. Her evokes the pain and futility of an all-too-common everyday love story in which age-old real-ware cannot conjure up sufficient relational intelligence between men and women to ward off divorce.
ONE-WORD THEME*: Divorce
Screenwriter Spike Jonze tells a classic three-stage Rites-of-Passage Separation story: Life Problem, Wrong Way, Acceptance (Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat!" classifications). The theme of divorce plays out primarily with Theo and Catherine (Rooney Mara), secondarily—analogically—with Theo and Samantha, and lower down the ladder of priority, with Amy and Charles (Amy Adams and Matt Letscher), a third couple that goes through a divorce.
Amy herself takes up after her divorce from Charles with a female OS—another Her—then gets dumped. Can we see, Jonze implies, that Her refers to all women in the story? To all women?
Jonze distracts us with the futuristic look and feel of artificial intelligence to blind us—momentarily—to the deeper and timeless mystery of genuine human-relationship intelligence that we'll always require if we hope to share with a significant other the joys of happiness, intimacy, and trust. The filmmaker blinds us to this core human-relationship challenge to better show how the story's hero, the emotionally withdrawn and confused Theo (the story's EveryMan), is blind to what love requires. A professional letter-writer who knows what love requires in the lives of others, Theo is clueless when it comes to what love requires in his own life, what women require of love.
Technology can help men (and women) with lots of stuff. But not this. Not marriage.
Jonze distracts Theo (and us) from the core theme and Life Problem, divorce, by the "attractive-distractor" experiment of Theo's relationship with a non-human: Theo's Wrong Way of dealing with his Life Problem. Caught up with the false "Her"—Samantha, a machine—Theo temporarily dulls the pain he feels from his dead marriage with the real "Her"—a human being, Catherine.
Samantha is the wizard of Her. And just as Dorothy's misplaced hope in the wizard of Oz has little to do with her eventual triumph over her ordeal, her growth and development, her return home, so too Theo's same-old-pattern emotionally-remote escapist relationship with Samantha will not bring him to a place of maturity and relationship intelligence he needs to become a member of the 20% club of successful marriages.
But unlike Dorothy who grows and changes, Theo doesn't. Experience along the yellow-brick road teaches him little about women or marriage and male-female relationships, little to spare him the same ordeal if he chooses to take another crack at marriage. A man without a flight manual. Winging it. Consult a book? "The 5 Love Languages"? "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay"? "The Way of the Superior Man"? Not Theo. And by the end of the story, he accepts life as it is. Ready to move on. Still clueless about EveryHer.
Jonze visually bookends Theo's journey to Acceptance —
Opening Shot: Theo inside, office cubicle, looking at his computer, a nearsighted contracted view of life alone writing a letter for someone else about their life a man (Theo) facing a huge Life Problem: divorce.
Closing Shot: Theo outside, rooftop of a skyscraper, looking out over the city, a farsighted expanded view of life still alone inside himself (interior-wise) but not alone exterior-wise because he's with Amy, another casualty of divorce Theo having finally written a letter for himself about his own life to the woman he loved a man finally resigned to his failure and fate: divorce.
And Jonze hints that Theo (and Catherine) might have to accept much more. Did the couple lose their baby? Did a tragedy contribute to their doom? Does that explain their unspeakable pain?
HERO'S NAME: Theo Twombley (A Man For Whom Women Are "Deities Unknown")
Given his painterly celebration of color, expressed through his wardrobe, and his fuzzy contemplation of life and its emotional tension between what's fanciful and true, could Theo Twombley refer to artist Cy Twombly, whose signature scribbles of mythically inspired canvases and drawings represent the confused scribbles of Theo's inner life as he braves through his ordeal?
Add that the meaning of the surname Twombley is unknown and that the meaning of Theo relates to God or deities, as in "theology." And we see how Theo Twombley's name reflects his incapacity to successfully traverse the labyrinth of marriage. A Man For Whom Women Are "Deities Unknown." Because marriage is a mysterious religious experience, requiring the relational intelligence of deities for Him to get it right with Her.
*Credit Christopher Vogler for the concept "one-word theme" ("Memo from the Story Department," by Vogler & McKenna).
© Copyright 2015 by JEF7REY HILDNER