It's all about 'Her'

By Taylor Burrington
On January 30, 2014

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is an anti-social, alienated recluse who seems to avoid interactions not so much with an air of aloofness as much as uncertainty.

He is warm to those he trusts and feels connected to, but those individuals are few and far between. The longing he feels for his ex-wife, and the desire to experience that sort of love again, is funneled into his occupation of—in a sense—ghost writing letters between loved ones; it certainly is curious work. This contrast between Twombly’s touching words and lack of real-life love draw the audience even more into the character.

Then we meet Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an operating system specifically designed for not only Theodore’s intelligence but also his lack of interaction with the outside world. The depth of their relationship ventures into jealousy, passion, sex, remorse, guilt and many more emotions that are seen in any human to human relationship.

While at first it may seem that a man has an unusual relationship with his computer, director Spike Jonze almost effortlessly unfolds this enchanting, saddening, damaging and delightful love story one would swear is just between two very in-love people.

At the end of the day it is the simplicity of this film that makes it so evocative. The cinematography is absolutely stunning and the landscape of L.A., with a smidge of Shanghai thrown in, make this film all that much more enjoyable to watch.

Spike Jonze didn’t force feed us this story we might find unbelievable. Rather, he let it develop naturally, replete with speed bumps and disappointments found in any natural relationship, and it certainly left the audience reeling with questions they felt were so easier to answer before: questions about sex, love, identity and artificial intelligence.

A friend of mine referred to this film as “challenging.” I think that’s probably the most accurate description of this film. Whether it is frustrating you, making you laugh, maybe making you a bit uncomfortable or tugging on your heartstrings, this movie will challenge what you know and what you believe about so many things.

Amy Adams and Rooney Mara turn in stellar supporting roles, and even “Parks and Recreation’s” Chris Pratt adds some well-timed comedic quips in the midst of what turns out to be a pretty dramatic “comedy.”

Johansson easily could have been nominated for her voice work in this film as she brought life to the character of Samantha, and did so much to convey every imaginable emotion in just the words that she said. To not even be present for the filming (Johansson was chosen after shooting was wrapped), and yet develop so much chemistry with Joaquin Phoenix is nothing short of remarkable.

Currently nominated for Best Picture, it is no surprise that “Her” has garnered so much notoriety both with critics and audiences alike. Please, do yourself a favor and see this movie. It is definitely worth the watch.

4.5 out of 5

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