Plot – In the near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need – Her.
Director – Spike Jonze
Released – 2014
There’s something about director Spike Jonze’s work that’s genuinely magical, with his near-future science-fiction romance Her, the perfect embodiment of this and completely unlike any other film you’re likely to see for a while.
Telling the story of Theodore (Phoenix), a recently separated man whose loneliness is eradicated once he finds a special connection with an advanced AI operating system named Samantha (Johansson). And what follows is a beautiful and unique romance that explores the complications with super long-distance relationships and what it is to be a Human. With Jonze making us question what love is and is it possible to love something/someone minus a physical body.
One of the most talented actors working today, Joaquin Phoenix has now reached the point in his career where he can take only projects that interest him and he finds challenging. And the role of Theodore, a character that spends more than half of the film talking with thin air, is most assuredly challenging.
His performance needed to be emotionally sincere and believable, with Phoenix using all of his skill to blow the audience away. How the Academy didn’t nominate him for the Best Actor Oscar, I’ll never know. As for the voice of Samantha, Scarlett Johansson also delivers a memorable performance that makes you care about her just as much as the human characters.
While it’s true to say this isn’t the most action-packed of movies, Spike Jonze’s skilful direction combined with the stunning cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema keeps you engaged for most of its two-hour runtime, though as you move into the final act, some scenes feel like retreads of previous ones and possibly a little forced.
Leading me to feel that a little trimming here and there would have helped make the movie less repetitive and a more enjoyable viewing experience. Even with that, all said, Spike Jonze’s slightly hipster vision of the near future is so touching and beautiful that you’re willing to forgive his indulgences.
If you liked: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Wristcutters: A Love Story, Transcendence