I’ve been putting this off for way too long. I’ve seen it twice, the most of all the Best Picture nominated films. Once on opening night. I let it sink in enough until I took my second helping. Of course, the second viewing of any movie isn’t as good as the first unless we’re talking about The Sixth Sense or Memento. But I felt I had to see Her twice before truly appreciating the beauty that it has throughout it.
What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Probably nothing. I’ll do my best though.
In a near-future Los Angeles, the hipsters have truly taken over. And I’d be okay with that if it meant that we would have pants that stayed up without the need of a belt, soft shades of bright colors lining our walls and on our clothes, and technology that kept up with our fast-paced lifestyles. We’re introduced to Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a calm-mannered proxy writer. His voice writes sentimental love letters on behalf of a significant other. Theodore’s emotional journey begins when he downloads the latest Operating System, OS1, an artificially intelligent secretary living inside computers and cell phones. This is where we meet Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), Theodore’s OS1. She is quickly learning about the outside world which does nothing but excite her and her ambitions for life.
What comes out is the most unexpected sci-fic, romantic-comedy, drama that has probably ever graced the screen. Even though that mixture of genres is so niche, that’s what makes it so special. Who would’ve thought that this premise would actually work? Director Spike Jonze works his magic at selling every bit of his self-penned screenplay. Everything from the set decoration to the acting to the atmospheric music. All of this is carefully framed, lit and shot beautifully.
Now, it’s not a perfect movie. I have just a couple gripes such as taking one scene out to make another more meaningful. Also, one plot device doesn’t make sense: how does a computer have a sexual awakening without the aid of the proper brain chemicals where those sensations come from? Head scratching for sure. In any case, I can excuse those devices for the most part.
Although it is a story about a man and his computer, it is very much a love story. The two grow to learn and understand each other, experience jealousy and miscommunication and ultimately become different beings at the end.
And the film works on so many different levels. It can show something about our dependence and devotion on technology can never trump the personal one-on-one relationships. It can also be a weird allegory about our long-distance relationships; which I personally would never endorse. Anyone can insert themselves into this unorthodox pairing, man or woman.
Ultimately, Her isn’t a “feel good” movie. Theodore’s and Samantha’s relationships has dips and highs that make you feel the way they do. You’re with them through it all, the thick and the thin. But at the climax you’ll appreciate the ones beside you as you strive to move on from heartbreak.
Did I give justice to this movie? Absolutely not. If I had seen it before 2013 turned 2014, it would have topped my Top 10 list. The best advice I can give regarding this movie is to go see it ASAP if you haven’t already. I wish I put it out sooner but alas, it must be forgotten in this mess of early year mediocrity we are now experiencing.
What did you think of Her? Is it an instant classic as I propose it is? Or is it a flash in the pan for Jonze? Let me know.
Next up: The Lego Movie.