Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara
Director: Spike Jonze
Her is an exceptional film, smartly written and directed by Spike Jonze and phenomenally acted by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson.
Her is set in the not-too-distant future, with poverty and despair seemingly a thing of the past. The ever-expanding population are more reliant on digital personal assistants than ever and live in highrises, with no real house in sight.
Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is almost a recluse. He’s in the midst of a divorce, broken-hearted and lost.
In what is probably one of Joaquin’s best roles to date, Joaquin excellently portrays the awkward, wounded, sensitive nature and the aching loneliness that the character of Theodore encompasses. Theodore is broken and lonely. He lives in an apartment alone, works in an office and has a deeply sensitive soul. For work, he writes beautiful hand-written letters, paid by the public to be sensitive, emotional and eloquent for them.
It may be worth noting that people in this reality are able to be connected randomly for cyber and phone sex, leading to an incredibly funny scene involving the voice of Kristen Wiig and her fetish of being strangled by a dead cat.
However, the character of Samantha the OS (Scarlett Johansson), is seductive, bright and intelligent all at once. Watching the film, it’s astounding at how easily plausible it would be to fall in love with something that was designed and created just for you and your needs.
Theodore and Samantha joke and flirt, while she organises his life and talks him to sleep. Their relationship blossoms, and it isn’t long before they are falling for each other.
This is Spike Jonze’s fourth feature film and it is arguably, his best yet. Jonze also helmed the screenplay, proving yet again that he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of cinema, able to bring something refreshingly unique and new every time. His script is comedic, unexpectedly honest and ultimately touching.
If this film were in the hands of another director, I doubt that it would have had the same effect. Perhaps it would have taken on a more dull tone, a generic sci-fi film where a man builds and falls in love with an android. In Her however, Theodore isn’t looking to create his ideal partner. Instead, society and technology have created it for him. Who can resist that?
Her provides a wonderful insight into how love begins, blooms and inevitably, ends. It is dizzyingly beautiful, with warm, velvety pastels and an extraordinarily beautiful film score written by Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett and additional music from Karen O.
Her is a beautifully layered, intimate piece of cinema, wonderfully exploring the human desire for connection, acceptance and love.