Monday, February 3, 2014


I saw Spike Jonze's Her a few weeks ago. I'll try to write a longer post on it, but since my memory is usually short, it may or may not hold up. The film however, does have a lot of things to talk about so we may luck out.

Her stars Joaquin Pheonix and Scarlett Johansson. Joaquin plays our lonely schlub hero Theodore, who works as a letter writer for This takes place in the future where people pay others to write their love letters for them. Theodore is a pretty basic guy, he goes to work, then back home, and play video games after a hurtful divorce with his wife. Just as the movie opens, he downloads a new OS for his phone/computer that is the world's first indpendent artificial intelligence that learns you and your whims and develops a personality. Enter Samantha (Scarlett Johannson), Theodore's OS. They quickly strike up a conversation, and after hours and hours they start to have emotional feelings for each other. What's neat about this film is that while it's a romance, it's also a sci-fi movie. The tech is advanced, but not so advanced that it makes it implausible. Everything works with voice controls, no one types, it's all speaking to you phone or computer screen. Mouse inputs no longer exist, you simply move your hand on your desk and the monitor picks it up. What's also cool is that your phone/PDA OS and your computer OS are the same, so its all linked. Similar to what Microsoft is trying to do with Windows 8. Also, throughout the film we get little glances into the world outside. Theodore and Samantha are not the only human/OS's that are dating. This is a new phenomenon happening all around the world. Also, the OS's are talking to each other, and starting communities amongst themselves. There are a couple more developments beyond that but it might ruin the story. What I really liked was not only did the filmmakers wonder how a man could have a romantic relationship with an OS, but also, what impact would a super-intelligent OS have on the world? What they come up with is astounding and plausible. At no point did I think that this world was too sci-fi to believe.

The actors in the film are also very good. As usual, Joaquin Pheonix is incredible and deeply nuanced. Scarlett Johansson is great as Samantha, even if we never see her onscreen. She uses a lot of affectations in her voice in her performance, so I'm wondering how many takes she did for each line. Can a whole different movie be in alternate takes? Instead of a sweet person, is there a version where Theodore falls in love with a complete bitch?

If Her is still in theaters near you, seek it out, you won't regret it. It's definitely wierd, and unusual from what hollywood puts out these days but also incredibly good.

4 out of 5 stars

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