SYNOPSIS: Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, “Her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.
REVIEW: From beginning to end, “Her” is a very charming romantic story told not only between man and woman, but also between man and machine, namely technology. And in some ways it could be seen as a cross between a 1997’s “Gattaca” and Andrew McCarthy’s “Mannequin” (1987). The idea of the story seems to underline our dependence on today’s rapidly developing technologies and what’s to come. Writer and director Spike Jonze (Adaptation, 2002) does an incredible job of telling this narrative without being preachy or boring. In fact, the film is so entertaining that audiences may have a hard time deciphering any hidden messages Jonze slides underneath the overall story. So viewers beware!
Before the screening I tried to imagine how one would enjoy a movie about a seemingly ordinary man falling romantically for a piece of technology, but
couldn't draw any real conclusions; however frankly speaking, “Oscar Nominee” is the first phrase that came to my mind after exiting this screening. The film is smart, sincere, and filled with incredibly real emotions. To put it simply, Spike Jonze’s iteration, with the help of Joaquin Phoenix (The Master, 2012) and an awesome cast that includes the likes of Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2011) and the voice of Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, 2012) is arguably the best possible way such a story can be convincing in any context.
Interestingly enough the movie has quite the ability to engage the audience with some of the most thought-provoking questions challenging humanity today, without using over-top typical Hollywood flair. It tends to beg questions such as: What does it mean to be in a relationship? Can emotions come from virtual reality? Is engagement with technology gradually isolating us from society? And at no point in this flick are any of the above questions explicitly stated or answered, but the audience should recognize them as this unusual story and its connections unfold.
Overall, this is a story worth experiencing despite there being portions of the flick that play out a bit slower than I would prefer and some seemingly monotonous filming styles throughout the one hundred and twenty six minute runtime. These moments certainly do not dissuade from one appreciating the sheer beauty of the film and its romance. It may be a bit challenging at times, but I can assure you that it is well worth your time as a date night movie with a loved one, at the theaters or on DVD. Five out of five stars is probably my being a little generous, but it’s well deserved.
By Movi-Man Stan
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