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“Her” – Review (POSITIVE)

January 15, 2014

Screen shot 2014-01-15 at 7.01.00 AMFirst review for the New Year, however it is of course for a 2013 film, which just recently received a wider release this past week. How funny is that? Ok, moving on.

Spike Jonze has a craft for the odd and unique, his stories are unconventional, peppy, sad, whimsical, mysterious, funny, and sometimes dark. He made us feel what it was like to be John Malkovich, showed us the horrors of writers block, and took us on a journey of wild imagination.

Now, with a fourth film to add into his filmography, he brings us a love story so different and outside the norm, most would find it baffling to accept. “Her” tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a passionate writer, living in the not too distant future of LA. This is a world not so different from our own, where touch screen and voice activated pieces of technology help us run our daily lives. A new O.S. (operating system) update is coming out, featuring an A.I. that will happily talk to the user, helping him/her feel ‘something’, even at their loneliest.

Theodore befriends his new O.S. Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), the discussions turn into something more, something meaningful. Theo is a man who’s suffered a harsh break up, and soon to be divorced. Samantha is a comforting voice to help him make it through the tough times. But, soon enough Theo learns that there’s more to Samantha than vocal comfort, he’s learning to love again, and it’s crazy to say, even for him to admit, but he’s falling in love with HER…

This is a film I found myself connected to on symbiotic level. There’s a connection many of us can share with Theo. We’ve all experienced bad break-ups, and finding out where these emotions take us can be rejuvenating or bleak. Sometimes, finding the comfort of a friend can be the best remedy. This films shows us the connection that we’re facing with our own technology, and when you look at it, and I mean really look at it, how is it so different than what’s happening in today’s world?

We live in a world were some sensational pleasures can come from texting (sexting), Skype, phone calls, snapchatting, tweets, and so on. Finding romantic solace in technology is already happening; it’s here, for better or worse. Jonze simply takes us to the next level, which to be honest isn’t very far away, but the moment you realize that Samantha has grown into something more, something with feelings, we the audience begin to find a connection with her. We empathize for her needs, she knows she’s not human, but she knows she’s developed feelings, something I feel many of us take for granted.

Screen shot 2014-01-15 at 7.01.32 AMThat’s what “Her” is truly about, if we don’t keep site of our emotions, our feelings, then we as a species essentially become like machines: cold, hollow, empty, and lifeless. Samantha is the voice of reason; a reminder that we need to live our human lives to the best of our abilities can let us go.

“Her” is a game changer in it’s own right; along with it’s miraculous color palette, transcendent score by Arcade Fire, far out production design, and Joaquin Phoenix giving a career best performance, thanks to a strong/wise voice belonging to Scarlett Johansson. But, it all comes down to the screenplay, the script is the star of this movie, Spike Jonze continues to prove to many of us that originality is never lost, and the power of originality is still out there. He’s carefully crafted a script that will have audiences touch and feel love for the first time all over again.

GRADE: A

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