- on Friday, 10 January 2014 12:25
- by Loron Hays
When you think of a romantic comedy your brain doesn’t immediately turn toward science fiction. Or does it? After all, isn’t the dizzying aspect of falling into love comparable to a loss of gravity? Certainly, with the right person, it can be. Her offers a new approach to the idea of romance and mixes it with the oddness only a director like Spike Jonze can bring.
Normally, we think of rom-coms in their contemporary settings – rural or otherwise - and boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-girl sort of scenarios. You think of hokey dialogue, subpar performances, and Katherine Heigl. We are condition to do such that thing after years and years of countless rom-coms and writer/director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) knows that, which is why his latest film – about a new divorcee who falls head over heels in love with his computer – is being billed as an awe-inspiring, life-affirming romance.
Well, to be honest, Her actually is more than what its previews advertise. The joke is on us. Her opens with Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) pouring his heart out. We think it is to a woman. The assumption is as such but really it’s only his job. He works for Beautifulhandwrittenletters.com and turns heartfelt expressions into meaningful correspondence for the emotionally challenged or tongue-tied consumer.
Jonze takes the opening a step further as we tumble into Theodore’s lonely life. The divorce papers are near their final stages and his ex (Rooney Mara) is there to remind him of his failings. His happy days are behind him or so he thinks. Encouraged to try a dating service, Theodore loads the program into his computer and starts chatting with its OS. Her name is Samantha (voice of Scarlett Johansson) and the sparks between them fly.
Co-starring Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, and Patton Oswalt, Her is a visual delight full of strong performances. Phoenix breathes so much life into his character that his conversations – whether by a little speaker in his ear or a tiny microphone – actually make you believe that Samantha is living, breathing being. Johansson delivers a stunning voice-over performance that continues to earn acclaim with its warm and deeply realized prospects.
If you aren’t buying my summary (you know, that a man can fall in love with a computer), leave it to the wild imagination of Jonze to get your head straight or just look around at the countless numbers of heads buried into their cellphones. Her absolutely works as a romance; as a social commentary; as an exploration of time and space in the age of the computer. Hell, Jonze could have called this Her or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Fall in Love with ScarJo All Over Again. It’s that magnetically poetic.
This weirdly futuristic fable is also an incredibly profound film that is more than just a “concept” film. With the successes of Her, Spike Jonze practically reinvents the face of science fiction.
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity.
Runtime: 126 mins
Director: Spike Jonze
Writer: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
Memorable Movie Quote: "I feel like I can be anything with you."
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Official Site: www.herthemovie.com/#/home
Release Date: January 10, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available
Synopsis: Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the 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. From the unique perspective of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze comes an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.
No details available.