Run time: 125mins
Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde and the voice of Scarlett Johansson
Synopsis: Set in the near future, “Her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the breakdown of his marriage, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. 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.
‘Her’ is an engrossing and original film – a highly topical take on love and relationships from the brilliant mind of acclaimed director, Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) It manages to successfully straddle three genres – romance, comedy and sci-fi – while providing an astute look at how we relate and connect to others.
Set in a near future when AI technology has fully been embraced, our protagonist Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Pheonix) is a gentle, reticent character with a romantic imagination and lyricism similar to the famous real-life Twombly – painter, Cy Twombly. Theodore is a writer who is so empathetic that he is a success in a company crafting beautiful, emotional letters for other people. Yet he is looking for love and when he buys a new computer OS which is so intuitive that it is soon organising his life – and he is open to taking that relationship deeper. Soon he and ‘Samantha’ (voice of Scarlett Johansson) are in ‘digital’ love and any attempt at an ‘analogue’ date is unsuccessful. As you struggle with Windows 8.1, you may experience an element of scepticism at the prospect of a love affair with your OS, but in Jonze’s world it becomes the credible norm. With the growing reliance on smart phones, tablets and the resultant continual partial attention, like all good Sci Fi, Her is an incisive look at how we live now.
Joaquin Pheonix is utterly convincing as ever and is ably backed by a strong ensemble cast including Amy Adams as his best friend and neighbour Amy, and Rooney Mara as Catherine his ex-wife.
With original music by Owen Pallett and a soundtrack strongly featuring Arcade Fire plus K.K. Barrett’s production design, Austin Gorg’s art direction, and Gene Serdena’s beautiful set decoration, the emotions and turmoil of Theodore are perfectly echoed.
Her is probably one of the most creative films of the year and a two hours you don’t want to end.
Images courtesy of Entertainment Films