Overview: A lonely writer begins to form a unique relationship with a fully sentient operating system. Annapurna Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures. 2013. Rated R. 120 Minutes.
Exploration: Her is a deep and honest look at the emotions, boundaries, and nature of human relationships. Beyond the clear commentary on the relationship humans have with technology, writer/director Spike Jonze is exploring loneliness and the building blocks of all human interaction. It queries: If a relationship or interaction feels real to someone, then who is to say that it isn’t real, regardless of any physical existence of the subjects? What is real and what isn’t? An answer isn’t what Jonze is looking for. It’s more interesting to explore the journey and investigate the complexities of a self-aware and social existence.
The Charm: Her is charmingly funny, authentic, and moving. I felt every emotion possible while watching this film. At times I couldn’t clear the smile from my face and the joy from my heart, only to experience melancholy and sorrow at other points. Jonze creates a story and characters so interesting and relatable that viewers will have trouble controlling their responsive emotions.
High Points: Joaquin Phoenix is magnificent as the lonely writer Theodore Twombly (I love that name), and Scarlett Johansson is his counterpart as the voice of Samantha, the operating system. Johansson’s elegant voice is perfect for voiceover and brings the incorporeal Samantha to life.
The cinematography radiates a calming glow with smooth, futuristic architecture and a canvas of pastel colors as the backdrop. The band Arcade Fire composes a meditative and soothing score that skillfully functions as a vehicle for the viewer’s emotions. At times of both pure joy and painful grief, the score deftly urges the viewer in the right direction and is always there afterwards to level out and pacify our feelings.
Final Thoughts: Her is deeply personal, sweet, heartfelt, and bursting with soul. Rarely has a film affected me emotionally as much as this film did. It inspired thoughts, questions, and ideas that will linger in my mind for years to come. It is an absolute delight.