I had the great opportunity to see an early showing of Her, the new film written and directed by Spike Jonze staring Joaquin Phoenix , Scarlett Johansen, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. In short, the film follows Theodore (Joaquin) in a not-too-distant future Los Angeles where one can buy a new operation system which is the first to have an artificial intelligence. The goal of the software is to help organize one's life. Theodore, who has recently been divorced, purchases this software with the hopes that he life, which is in disarray, will become orderly. His software, which is self-named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett), is a joyful, funny, and helpful companion that not only helps Theodore with organization but provides friendship, self-esteem, and even love.
|Theodore and Samantha (the phone in his pocket) at a |
crowed SoCal beach.
This ambiguity can also be applied to the film's genre. Is this a sci-fi film, a romance, a tragedy, a comedy, a commentary on technology, on commentary on relationships? There is obviously no definite answer to this genre question (even though Netflix in a year or so will probably put it in the Sci-fi category) but that I walked away asking this question is evident of it success to be a story that stirs multiple emotions and ideas in the individual viewer.
|Robot & Frank: the antics |
of a retired cat-bugler
and a geriatric robot.
|Theodore's orange jacket|
A large part of the film's success at captivating the audience is in the acting of Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johansson. I am not surprised that I enjoyed their acting but it wasn't until a couple days after I saw this movie that I realized that 60%+ of the movie is either a close up of Theodore's face while he talks to Samantha or watching Theodore walk around Los Angeles while talking to Samantha. Without the great acting by Joaquin or the great acting from Scarlett and the range of emotions that she is able to convey through her voice, this film would not be successful as I believe it is.
|Samantha can see the world through this iPhone-looking|
device that Theodore carries in his front pocket.
Her tells a funny, awkward, sad, and hopeful love story which expands one's definition and understanding of love and relationships. While it is set in the future, it does not take one long to see the present, which will probably make you pause the next time you pick up your iPhone or use Siri.
I give this movie an 8.8 out of 10