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Take a look around you; people are consumed by modern technology. With devices designed to fit ones’ every need, you could say people are in love with electronics. Spike Jonze’s Her takes this to a whole new level. This new project from the Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich) brings a heartfelt story of a slightly unorthodox relationship that tests the limits of human emotion.
Her tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely individual who is having a rough time getting back into the dating scene after an ongoing divorce process. Set in a distant future where tech devices are even more influential than they are now, Theodore hears of a new type of operating system that is personally programmed to fit the specific needs of its owner. His new operating system, named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) seems to know Theodore in a way he thought nobody could. Over the course of a growing and loving relationship, he finds that both his emotional limits, as well as Samantha’s, are tested; which leads to questioning whether a relationship with an operating system is as rewarding as one with a human counterpart could be.
Needless to say, Her is very original. Both written and directed by Jonze, he really delivers a story that makes you wonder about the capabilities of human beings. One of the many things that carries the film is how thoroughly its tendency to represent the accurate qualities of human emotions and interactions is.
Joaquin Phoenix gives a grade-A performance in his lead role, and it takes guts to act out an entire film while only working with the voice of his co-star (Johansson). He shows a quirky but charming personality in which he always feels the desire to feel emotions and experience things he’s never had experience with before. As for Johansson, it takes an equal amount of talent to voice the lead role of a film with little to no interaction with other actors.
One quality that Her has that helps it succeed the way it does is by introducing lovable, relatable characters. With supporting roles by Amy Adams; who’s coming off a successful 2013, Chris Pratt who’s about to have a breakout 2014, as well as Olivia Wilde and Rooney Mara, the film leaves nothing behind in the sense of good acting. Another note that really stood out to me about the film is how beautifully it was filmed, with a very distinctive and unique sense to it.
It seems that Her is one of the top choices to headline the upcoming awards season. With three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Phoenix), and Best Screenplay (Jonze), those nods are very well-deserved, and I hope the best for it with whichever other awards it either wins or at least gets the recognition for.
Holding an impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.6/10 on IMDB (having been released for a few weeks now, but opened worldwide today), Her should be towards the top of anyone’s must-see list for this season.
My Reel Rating – 8.3/10
Written by Josh Sazin on January 11th, 2014