The past is just a story we tell ourselves.
Feeling lonely. Abandoned. And then there’s that moment you get to know someone. The chemistry that’s being created. The moments you will experience together. The laughter and tears. You discover things together. The other one makes you discover yourself. A trip. A night out. The passion. The confidence that starts to grow. The good times and the less pleasant moments. The moment you realize that you can’t live without the other. The moment you get the impression that you’ve outgrown each other. The gnawing feeling of jealousy. Realizing that she’s cheating on you. The reconciliation time. The final separation … The older you get, the more you are familiar with some of these facets of a human relationship. Some won’t agree herein. For young people it’s usually unknown territory. For them this is probably a boring and ridiculous film. To me, all those human emotions appeared in “Her“. A brilliant compelling film which shows what human feelings are and what the consequences are. Magisterial, masterful, magical and subtly portrayed.
The sensitive and single Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) works for a “dot-com” company that posts handwritten letters to family members, friends or partners on all sorts of things. Apparently an item that is missing in this future society, as all communication is done electronically . He himself is in a fairly emotional stage. He’s still dealing with the fact that his wife left him recently. In an impulse , he buys a new artificial intelligent system from Element Software. OS1. An intuitive entity that listens to you , understands you and knows you after a while. This entity is revealed as Samantha. An understanding, gentle and charming sounding computer voice (Scarlett Johansson), which nestles itself in the daily life of Theodore. A computer program that starts to create an awareness and passes the boundary between artificial intelligence and human awakening after a certain time. The image of Samantha that Theodore has, gradually changes from a gimmick or gadget into a soul mate and someone with whom he could share his life. He’s falling in love in other words.
Is “Her” a romcom, a SF or a comedy ? Basically it’s a mix of all three, with a generous portion of ingredients from every genre. Of course there are elements in this film that are known from a romcom. An impossible love with the necessary consequences. There are clearly SF elements in it such as a constant connection with the available information-technology, the IT devices used and the wall-to-wall 3D game that Theodore plays all evening. Even Samantha can be compared with the famous current “Siri” application. It’s a selfish and really lonely society where every individual lives in his/her own virtual world. It’s kind of creepy since this future world is almost as similar as our society nowadays. Today, no one can live without their smartphone, personal computer with email capabilities and social media. The computerized world as we know it today, can’t live without the artificial intelligence. And occasionally the film is also quite laughable in a hilarious way ( the cyber-sex that Theodore has with Sexy Kitten and a dead cat playing a key role in it) and sometimes in a mocking, biting, sarcastic way ( the picnic where everyone converses with Samantha as if she was there in the flesh) .
Joaquin Phoenix plays in an outstanding way the emotionally distraught Theodore. Not an easy task as his role mainly consists in showing emotions just with the use of facial expressions. Yet I found it masterly and sometimes moving to see him swinging back and forth between different emotions. Ditto for Scarlett Johansson. Despite the fact that we only hear her voice, she manages to show the proper emotion. The only visual thing we see, is the reaction of Theodore. And what a beautiful voice she has. Peppered with the right key and timbre that matches the feeling at that time. From cheerful and funny, to troubled, hurt and jealous. All this with a warm, sultry and sometimes hoarse voice. You fall in love instantly. Had my GPS such a voice, I would make a lot of mileage on my car.
Conclusion: A great movie. A compelling film. A film that touched me. A film about the relationship between a man and a piece of software. But also a warning for the evolution towards a lonely society which threatens to dilute the real deep human contacts. A must-see movie anyway!
This is a beautiful description I found on a website called “Rutger in de filmclub”. I couldn’t resist to quote it:
“Her” is totally implausible if you can’t surrender to the movie. If you do that, you just get lost in this dreamy world of Jonze, which combines subtle sci-fi with an old-fashioned atmosphere. When you believe in Samantha, you will naturally begin to see this OS as a woman. Scarlett Johansson’s voice is enough to melt a man’s heart. Try not to fall in love. You lose.
My rating 9/10
Links : IMDB