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I love everything about Her
Frank-E-Hickey4 January 2014
This is the best film I have seen all year, and I saw just about every good film to hit theaters in 2013. I think it's because it is so representational of what it's like to be human.

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.
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In a word, brilliant
BillK21 December 2013
Science fiction has been dominated by 'space westerns' for so long that the occasional concept- based story situation hits a big number on my personal richter scale.

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.
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Difficult to rate
oh_no_mrbill31 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, I want to list the positives in this movie, because there are several. The concept of falling in love with an AI is a great one. The cinematography and use of color in "Her" is really beautiful. The acting is uniformly good. Particularly Amy Adams, who plays an understated role as a nerdy girl next door who may have feelings for Theodore; despite a relatively quiet part, she completely inhabits Amy, making her feel like an actual person. Joaquin Phoenix does a great job (as usual) with Theodore, and Scarlett Johanson makes you believe she really is a computer with a heart. But I wanted to highlight Adams's performance; especially alongside her much larger role in American Hustle, she deserves a few big wins this year.

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.
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HER - a visually beautiful ode the technological age
antesdespues16 December 2013
Spike Jonze's latest feature 'Her', set in the not-too-distant future, tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) who finds himself falling in love with 'Samantha', an advanced operating system voiced by the sultry Scarlett Johansson. It is clear to see why this film was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2013: the visual style and extensive use of pastel colours is a triumph in itself, and the acting, editing, costumes and screenplay are all worthy of recognition.

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
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Just about the best thing you can see in 2013...
Clayton Davis12 October 2013
Talk about closing with a bang. Spike Jonze's long-awaited original film about a writer that falls in love with his operating system is not only the best film to play at this year's New York Film Festival; it very well could be the very best film of the year. "Her" is the finest writing and directorial endeavor of Spike Jonze's career. And then there's the towering and crowning work of Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix who proves once again, he's the finest actor working today, hands down. You can't find a more dynamic and compelling story about the human connection and where we're headed as a society.

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
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Her is boring!
Max3 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I couldn't get Brendan Fraser's character in Bedazzled out of my head while watching this. You know, the one who cries at the songs of the whales and also at sunsets? And whose girlfriend just longs to be banged? This pretentious overlong film almost put me to sleep. It redefined boring. And yes, there are those who will protest, 'But that's because you are too stupid to appreciate the subtle nuance of the multilayer storyline.' Yeah right - I know a turkey when I see one. And it's okay that you can validate your own lives from this risible drivel.

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?
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Cyber romance with hearty humanity.
jdesando18 December 2013
"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." Albert Einstein

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
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Her is Spike Jonze's finest film yet
monkyman34729 December 2013
I've been a fan of Spike Jonze's films since I first saw Being John Malkovich. Although the wonderful script deserves some of the credit for making that film so great, it was immediately clear to me that Spike Jonze was a director with a fresh and imaginative perspective. His next film, the 2002 meta-comedy Adaptation, confirmed this with its dry wit and multilayered narrative. Now, after a slightly less successful (but still enjoyable) adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze has written and directed his most complete and poignant film yet, Her.

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.
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An inane, tasteless, disappointing, boring downer
mdreser1 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Having a job writing beautiful romantic letters for other people to send to their loved ones is weird just to start with. Then sad sack Theodore, who was just divorced by his wife, gets all worked up over the lovely, stroking voice of his computer. So needy, he falls in love; the OS thinks she is falling in love; they 'have sex'(a version of masturbation). But eventually, he finds out that she's giving the same loving strokes to anyone who has a smart phone. So nobody is 'being real' with anybody.

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).
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Worse Than A Virus
cultfilmfreaksdotcom27 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Back when THE TWILIGHT ZONE episode TO AGNES WITH LOVE showed antisocial, lust- burdened geek Wally Cox falling hard for his female-voiced computer, it probably seemed pretty bizarre since office-sized computers weren't exactly a commodity...

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.
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"The Heart is Not Like a Box" (dialog)
A_Different_Drummer2 November 2014
Fairly rare one of a kind film.

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...?
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Plot? What plot?
Julie Reilly3 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Watched this film last night. We had high hopes of it - 8.2 on IMDb is a pretty good rating. We both like sci-fi and I thought it was an interesting premise. Guy falls in love with his computer - what a fascinating background for a story.

But it turned out that was it - that WAS the story.

Nothing. Else. Happened.

This was just awkward, boring, dull, terribly terribly slow, uncomfortable. There is zero action, zero plot, zero interest. Nothing actually happens. Actually that's not true - about the only vaguely interesting thing that happens is when his computer gets him a book deal, but even then that just gets dropped - they don't do anything with it, except he unwraps his new book. There are side characters but they don't have stories either. Guy he works with gets a lawyer girlfriend and they go on a date. Best friend Any dumps her husband over a row about her shoes. That's it. That's their stories.

And what the heck was the thing with the dead cat?

I did think the acting wasn't bad, but as a story it was shockingly bad.
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Pathetic drivel
thunda121621 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
So the guy falls in love with a piece of software. This loser wanders around aimlessly, unable to have a meaningful relationship with a living person. His character is so boring, so lifeless, so inane you just want to scream at the screen. I actually did. Several times. Meanwhile, his OS is being unfaithful. When he finally figures it out, he is so weak that he can't bring himself to call up Microsoft or Apple and get another operating system. One that is actually useful. Heck, even Linux would be an improvement at this point. At the end I was hoping that he would hurl himself off the top of the building, taking his pathetic neighbor with him. Curses - foiled again. This, too shall not come to pass.

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!
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Her- Spike Jonze's Prophetic Reflection on Social Isolation and the Dependency on Evolving Technologies is as Sweet as it is Disconcerting
generationfilm20 November 2013
At the heart of every truly great science-fiction film there is an emphasis on character that aims to reflect on some element of the human condition usually intended to open our minds to thought provoking predictions or eerily warn of an impending reality. We've seen numerous examples of these contemplative films throughout the very existence of cinema stemming all the way back to Fritz Lang's haunting futuristic piece Metropolis and has inspired countless others in its thoughtful wake as seen in memorable cinematic creations such as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, and even Duncan Jones' Moon. Never to be a director to back away from experimental presentation or psychological study, Spike Jonze's Her fully embraces this reflective science-fiction quality by peering into the deep sociable aspects of the human psyche giving us more of a prophetical reality than a fictional reflection. In his latest film Jonze creates a disconcerting yet equally endearing romance between a secluded depressive and his female operating system with an evolving consciousness, basically a HAL-9000 homage from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, that brings to light a commentary on our dependency of programmed living and our need to maintain sociability when direct communication avenues have been stricken from life's normality. Rarely do ambitious films meet idyllically with their inquisitive potential, but Jonze has fashioned a delicately profound science-fiction contemplation that is depicted through the thoughtfulness of character alone that brims with wry humor, authentic pain, and charming revelation. Through the use of beautiful cinematography, impeccable production design, and subtle yet evocative performances, Her becomes a multilayered film experience where its character study of an isolated man afraid to become vulnerable again blends harmoniously with a truly unconventional yet naturally heartfelt romance. Jonze's affinity and ambition for presenting psychological challenges, as he has done before with Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and especially in Where the Wild Things Are, finally collides with emotionally piercing conveyance within Her making it as thought provoking and as it is undeniably sweet. If the sole purpose of the science-fiction genre is to expound on societal, moral, and deeply psychological aspects of our human condition than Her fits soundly within that genre's capabilities by capturing our condition's essential need for sociability and love uncomfortably linking it with our antisocial dependency on technology.
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The best film of 2013 is Her.
whifferrack30 December 2013
I saw Her this weekend, and it's my favorite movie of the year. Everything about it was fantastic: the acting, the directing, the writing. It could've easily been a clichéd look at technology or the future, but it's fundamentally a very human story about evolution. It's about having to deal with unfulfillment and things like divorce and loneliness, but it's also undercut with hope, whether it be through Theo's relationships with Samantha (Johansson) and Amy (Adams) or even the stylistic touches, like having Theo's red clothes set against a muted Los Angeles background. There are parallels drawn between all the characters' journeys without it feeling contrived, and even Theo's job--writing letters for other people--represents his relationship with his OS; on the surface, they may seem like "just letters" or "just a computer", but they're outlets for his emotions and desires.

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/
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Immensely disappointing.
Kimberly14 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
While the idea behind the movie is sorta-kinda unique (Smart House, anyone?), the actual romantic plot line was so poorly executed I couldn't even believe it.

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.
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I'm sad. The computer I was in love with ran off with the toaster!
kitchent25 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw the trailer for this movie I thought the idea looked a bit silly. But with the hype and hoopla, the Golden Globe Nominations, the Oscar Nominations, well, hey, I could have been wrong. Unfortunately, I wasn't. This (so far) is the most overrated film of the year.

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!
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One of the best in 2013!!!
ahmedhamdi46520 December 2013
Though director Spike Jonze collaborated with Charlie Kaufman on Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, the latter didn't have a hand in Jonze's assured, moving fourth feature, but his spirit—fiendishly inventive, casually postmodern, self-lacerating, fearless, funny, and ultimately deeply sad—pervades the film. With Her, Jonze beautifully realizes a future Los Angeles where a lovesick man (Joaquin Phoenix) in the midst of a devastating divorce is so desperate for intimacy that he falls hopelessly in love with an artificially intelligent operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Jonze's screenplay acknowledges the innate absurdity of the film's premise while spinning it into an elegant, heartbreaking depiction of human loneliness and the innate need for connection. For the setting, Jonze plugged into the current era's technological mania to say something timeless and profound about love, loss, and evolving desire.
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bored to death
temrok98 February 2014
What people may find in this movie I can not understand;you experience endless closeups of Mr. Phoenix talking with his supposed OS, and saying things so banal and so boring that you want to just close your eyes or , even better, leave the theater.I suppose it was meant to be clever, sentimental, atmospheric, beautiful, but I found it unbearable.I really wasn't expecting the movie to be that bad with all the prizes and the reviews it receives, and the director whom I never considered great but promising yes.It just makes me wonder how people liked the film.I'm not raging against it;it was just an experience I would very much like to have avoided.
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A Nice Idea that Failed
Norris Coulter18 January 2014
Big fail. A dystopia is where the author takes what we value today and projects it into the future... as a nightmare. That is, what we "like" becomes a nightmare. Spike Jonze wants something like that, but fails, since he probably doesn't know what dystopia is. Like many feminists, male and female (think Margaret Atwood), Jonze thinks he can take what he *hates* about his culture into the future and project that; that's neither utopia nor dystopia, it's just a rant. And no, I'm not talking about artificial intelligence, which is NOT what this film is about. I'm talking about how men and women actually think about each other.

The politics are crude. Jonze wants us to believe that a utopian Los Angeles will feature games that give housewives "mommie points," the way they might have in the 1950s. So, like, given the current evolution of women, there's a future for "mommie points," right? Similarly, the males in this film are caricatures, and mostly from the past. The "masculine" friend of the hero treats his wife condescendingly... as he might have in 1915. The other 'normal' male is a one-dimensional jerk. The women natter like girls from the 1960s -- the counter-culture -- or first-wave Feminism, 1978.

You could say that, having given the characters no navel, Jonze does nothing but observe his own. The result is a film so dazzled by its politics, and so ignorant of life, that it's sterile. There is no human growth here, just social theory, aphorisms about feelings, and received wisdoms.

This is not a film, it's a doodle about two improbable mates. The male hero's only virtue is that he's "half-woman," as the film takes great pains to say. For the rest of it, the man mutters aloud, and follows a hollow character line that turns him into cardboard.There was a way to make Jonze's central plot device work as a piece of art. I have some ideas on that. However, I'm not going to say it here: it would encourage Jonze to re-do this massive bore.
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Depressing, pretentious, and over indulgent!
rogerdob12 January 2014
Depressing...the main character is a major loser...I don't blame people for not wanting to be around him...all of his troubles are his own fault...he is indeed, as one of the characters call him, creepy. Despite the previews, there is nothing funny in this film...it is one of the most depressing films of the year.

Pretentious...remember the plastic bag floating in the air in "American Beauty"? Well, if you like that then there will be several scenes you will absolutely enjoy with this film! Hmmm...staring at oil stains on the ground? Watching steam arise from a manhole cover? They come on as non-sequiturs but I am sure the director was making what he probably considers a great statement.

Over-indulgent...2 hours long! There is a scene where "sex" takes place between he and "her" and the screen goes black and SILENT for what feels like TWO minutes. It was an awkward moment sitting in the theater with nothing happening on the screen! Also, after about 75 minutes, the ending seems to be in reach but the director drags the story on for another 45 minutes!
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I did not like this movie at ALL.
aoifenicsheain-130 January 2014
I did not like this movie at ALL. I've no idea why it has wound up in so many Top Ten Movies of 2013 lists online. I wonder did the creators of those lists actually watch it at all. In fact, there was nothing redeeming about it for me and within minutes of it starting I wanted to turn it off but I watched to the end, hoping that something - anything - might happen. OK, so the cinematography and soundtrack etc. are totally unoffensive, but in my opinion, it is grossly over-acted, including the OT's childish whining. ("Oh-ka-aaaaay.") Their conversations sound like a dialogue piece written by a high school kid for homework and the delivery of it all is just so.... fake. This is a 'chick flick', so if that's what you're into, you might like this show. Otherwise, you'll end up giving whoever suggested watching it a really hard time. Probably for life.
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So Bad It Strains Language to Describe. But Casey Storm's Costumes Show Creativity
"Her" 2013 is so bad communicating how bad it is strains my abilities as a reviewer. Sometimes we say, "If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the best bits of the movie." With "Her," if you've seen the movie's poster, you've seen the movie. "Her" consists of shots of Joaquin Phoenix's face as he talks to "Samantha," the operating system of his computer, and Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, responds.

Theodore (Phoenix) is a mopey guy. His marriage failed. He is lonely. He plays video games but appears to have no other interest or activity. His computer's new operating system has a sexy voice. He has a relationship with this voice. The relationship consists of him chatting with the computer about how sad and lonely he feels and how he wishes he were in love and in a relationship. Theodore reminisces about his marriage. In flashbacks, he is shown cavorting and scampering with his picture- perfect, and much younger, ex-wife as if they were the models in an ad for Viagra or feminine protection. Theodore occasionally chats with real life people, including neighbor Amy Adams, a fine actress who is criminally underused – at the very least dress her in some jodhpurs! And that's it. Nothing else happens.

The movie is inert. It sits on the screen like a boring houseguest who won't leave and who refuses to do anything excitingly offensive enough for his host to phone the police and have him thrown out. Nothing funny or challenging or profound or original or intriguing or witty or daring is said or done. There's no development of the idea. The movie's end could just as well have been the movie's middle or even its beginning. There is so much inept nothing up on the screen I'm astounded that this movie was even released. It genuinely frightens me that the scriptwriter and the director are convinced that they created something worthy of viewers' time. Hubris at this level should be actionable in a court of law.

There is one thing – and one thing only – in "Her" that shows some creativity, intelligence and originality and sparks some interest. "Her" is meant to be set in the not-too-distant future. Casey Storm, "Her"'s costume designer, avoids the temptation to create futuristic costumes such as are found in Flash Gordon, Star Trek, or Star Wars. No one wears wings or anything metallic. Everyone dresses as if they shop at Salvation Army and purchase the most drab, frumpy clothes available. Collars are narrow. Pants are high-waisted. Color combinations are soporific. Theodore wears a lot of pumpkin orange. The clothes are just bad enough to be entirely believable as a fashion trend.
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I signed into a 6 year dormant IMDb account just to write this review...
R UK29 January 2014
I was fooled into watching this by the 8.5 rating on IMDb....

What a waste of time. I downloaded this and felt ripped off. I'm not even trying to be funny with what I'm writing, it was genuinely a slow, boring, non-event of a movie. The plot was clichéd and pretentious not to mention it's cringeyness and predictability. Drab, grey, dull, etc... I just can't get my head around why this is so highly rated, none of its attempted messages were lost on me or anything yet I still found it terrible.

Acting and all that, well it was as good as it could have been for such a dire script/plot/whatever you want to call it. I just want my 2 hours back. Eurgh.
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