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Her Movie Review

Her

Her Movie Review

Overview
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.

Pros

Well written and directed,
Superb performance by Joaquin Phoenix

Her Questions What a Relationship Is

What is a relationship? That was my first thought as I left the theater following my viewing of Her. Through a spectacular performance by Joaquin Phoenix and the well-executed direction of a well-written screenplay by Spike Jonze, Her is a romantic dramady that really gets to the heart of what a relationship is and questions society as to whether we see it correctly.

Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) is a man in a slump. He’s currently involved in divorce proceedings with a woman he’s known his entire life, he’s awkward socially, and, to top it all off, he has a job where he writes romantic letters for other people. He is an incredibly romantic man without the means to express it himself. That is, until he upgrades his operating systems and begins a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johanssen). Theodore has human friends as well, including Amy Adams in an atypical role as a shy friend. As Her goes on and Theodore’s relationship with Samantha deepens, it is clear to see what the relationship does for him and how it improves him socially, mentally, and emotionally. I won’t ruin the ending for fear of reprisal, but I will say that different viewers will get different things out of it.
When I first saw the trailer for Her, I thought that Phoenix was going to be a creeper type of character, not all that dissimilar from his outstanding turn in The Master. That is not at all what we get. Theodore is a sympathetic guy who you actually root for as he explores the range of a relationship with his OS. The flashbacks and interactions between Theodore and his wife (Rooney Mara) are genuinely heartbreaking. For anyone who has experienced heartbreak in their lifetime, these moments will feel authentic as they emanate the pain of a man who has lost the love of his life.
Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich) is known for bringing interesting ideas to the screen. Her is just another annal in his legacy. The story flows quite well, and it is all very believable. Set in the future, Her resides in a time where it doesn’t seem to be bizarre that a person would have a relationship with their phone. It’s not the future, ala “Blade Runner”. There is optimism, happiness, and no flying cars. In short, it’s a believable future that allows for a conceivable plot. The mood for a not-too distant future is amplified by the presence of a score composed by Arcade Fire. Arcade Fire has always been known as a band that seems to be ahead of their time, and they bring that sort of presence to the film. The interesting thing about Arcade Fire’s contribution is that it truly is a score, not a soundtrack. They bring their anthemic sound minus vocals to the film and create an atmosphere fitting of a technological love story.
The direction of the film is just superb. Close up shots on faces (especially Phoenix’s) really highlight the emotion of the poignant moments that the film is built upon. Likewise, the occasional shaking camera makes us feel as if we are actually observing the events first-hand, as opposed to that of a distant viewer. Part of the magic of Her, as I mentioned earlier, is the use of flashbacks. They are all relevant, and they all have a sort of bright filter on them. It gives the impression that these are bright spots in Theodore’s life, which amplifies the nostalgic pain that he is feeling throughout the film.

I started off the review with a question: what is a relationship? Her explores that theme. Many think of a relationship as a physical phenomenon; as an intimacy to be shared through touch with another human being. But what about the emotional bond of a relationship? When two people make each other stronger. When two people push each other to be the best they can be and to explore parts of themselves that they never thought they would see. Theodore and Samantha have that. They make each other better. It’s this concept that has stuck with me. There is obviously a problem with physical intimacy between a man and an OS (although Her does explore the possibilities), but emotional intimacy can still ring true. Love is more than a physical ideal. Her seeks to show all of us the positives of emotional intimacy and, through a currently unimaginable premise, it does so beautifully.

About The Author
Chris Capurso
Traveling the path of the music school grad turned lawyer/businessman. JD/MBA Candidate at William & Mary. I enjoy life, film, the Boston Red Sox, and the Indianapolis Colts. Read more reviews from Chris www.capursofilmreviews.blogspot.com