Her (2014)

Genre: Comedy, Sci-fi, Romance

Director: Spike Jonze

Writer: Spike Jonze

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson

Rating:★★★★★

Her is certainly one of the most connecting films I have watched in recent years making me experience a bundle of emotions from sadness to inspiration. The story along with the script, characters and acting is a real credit to the amazing writing and visual direction by director and writer Spike Jonze who has really created something special. It’s hard to find faults in one of this year’s big Oscar films and it certainly deserves its reputation and plaudits and in some respects deserves more as Joaquin Phoenix gives a simply great performance as the lead character along with the rest of cast.

Set in a futuristic time, technology is thriving and as a civilisation we are thriving with it. We follow Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) a New Yorker and letter writer who amazes us along with everyone else with his compassion, charm and romance however to our surprise we find that he is actually a lonely man in the final stages of a harsh divorce. Spending his nights choosing between the dilemma of internet porn and video games Theodore is hooked when he sees an advertisement for a new operating system OS1 labelled “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness”. Upon installing his newly purchased OS1 he is matched up with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the voice behind his system, a programmed conscious who can evolve just like Theodore himself. Being his only and new founded company Samantha becomes more than an operating system for Theodore and the two together fall in love.

It is amazing to watch how an operating system voice with only audible presence can have a huge impact and connection to not only Theodore but us as an audience. However after falling in love and forming a relationship the obvious problems form as Samantha is only a voice but there is more than it first seems which causes harm for our main characters. Despite Samantha’s pure and high intelligence helping Theodore in his work and everyday life, he still finds conflict within himself, finding himself mostly withdrawn at times and alongside the ongoing divorce he gets pulled down. As for Samantha finding and discovering new things and feelings isn’t always good and the popularity of OS1 and relationships seem to grow and grow along with the operating system’s intelligence proving to be a disastrous thing.

Spike Jonze has written possibly one my favourite scripts of all time and one of the most diverse screenplays. The whole concept in itself is unique and this unconventional romance is somewhat refreshing and certainly pleasant. At times I was in tears due to the witty and hilarious comedy, by far one of the most entertaining scenes this year to watch is Theodore’s encounter with a lost alien whilst playing a video game. On the other hand at times there was some real emotional pain and heart-felt sadness when you could see the despair in Theodore and even the sorrow in Samantha’s voice as the story closes. It was too inspirational, showing sometimes the message of just doing what makes you happy or as Theodore’s friend Amy says “you know what, just fuck it”. It was a story that slowly grew on me than eventually took over and became amazing, the only flaws are the slightly perverted moments but those can easily be overlooked. It was also inspirational as one day I hope to be able to write a screenplay or script with such emotional impact and connection with the audience as Her achieves.

The cast give fantastic performances and for me a big surprise was how the role of Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore was overlooked by the Oscar committee as it was truly great. Instantly we felt for our protagonist, we felt his harsh and deepest emotions and when happiness approach him it approached us, and that was due to a combination of excellent writing but even better acting. Scarlet Johansson although only a voice was brilliant, I think it needs to be pointed out that it must be harder to communicate emotion with only tone available yet it was completely believable. Amy Adams too as Theodore’s friend Amy was very believable, apparently Jonze made the actors spend forced time together in a locked room to make them all form a connection. It was an idea that really worked as the dialogue and delivery was so real it felt like it wasn’t even acting.

Jonze’s direction too was great along with the cinematography, a flurry of scenery shots of New York’s skyline and coast beaches hogged the screen and it was awe-inspiring. The shots were mainly long and simple but so beautifully crafted as it created a warm glow and feeling. At times it was the simplicity which made the emotion stand out the most.  Along with Best Motion Picture, Original Screenplay and Production Design, Her achieved two nominations for its achievement in score and music something I found joy in. Not only are the scenes where a happy Theodore and Samantha sing together made up created songs pleasant to watch, but it is pleasant to listen to with such a beautifully lyrical song made. The “Moon Song” is something to listen out for within the film.

Her is hard to fault, maybe the perverted scenes were unnecessary but at times it did show us Theodore’s character and his struggle, however it is something that can’t and really shouldn’t bring down this film at all.  Jonze’s creation is a real treat to experience, leaving you somewhat sad not only due to the story but that the film ended and with it the experience and our time with Theodore and Samantha who we bond with an amazing amount. It is a film worth-while to watch and one worth the huge reputation and praise; it is Her’s ability to be outstanding in so many aspects that makes this film complete and something real special. Easily watchable, entertaining, inspiring and emotional it is a film which is firmly making its way as a modern great alongside a personal favourite.

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11 comments on “Her (2014)

    • Likewise here, it was released in American in December I believe and since then I have been dodging spoilers as it only came out here for me two weeks ago! Such a great film and definitely worth the wait, thanks for the read!

  1. Afternoon Liam, great review yo, glad you loved the film. I however wasn’t as love with it. I think this film is pretty much capturing everyone’s heart left right and center, but not mine sir.

    I thought Her was a very beautiful film with great themes, drama and conflict, though my enjoyment level for this hasn’t been as high as other films I’ve seen this year. I loved Joaquin Phoenix, he was amazing and he made me see that I really should be paying attention to him as a actor and Scarlett Johansson was incredible with waht she did in her voice role. The film does look amazing and the score was pretty decent too.

    I don’t wanna hate on the film, but I felt a sort of disconnect from the film’s growing love story mainly because of the bizarre nature of a mian falling for a talking operating system. I guess I prefer phyiscal relationships between people and prefer machines when they attack people like Skynet in the Terminator series.

    • Thanks again! I have to admit its a film you have to accept, unconventional completely, we’re used to machines killing us like Robocop then a month later a release comes out and a man falls in love with an operating system? That aside it’s a great film for me, although a weird relationship something no doubt people related to! Once accepted you start to admire and love, that’s what happened to me and as you said many others! So glad it got the Oscar it deserved!

  2. The sex scenes in Her were so, so, so uncomfortable. Jonze is a true god for writing this script–and there was no actual, visual sex in the film! Lovely review, and I’m on board with everything but this bit: “relationships seem to grow and grow along with the operating system’s intelligence proving to be a disastrous thing”–I don’t think the OSs (or humans’ relationship with them) proved to be disastrous, but it was more of a matter of time, and kind of a wake-up call for the society (at least that’s what I hoped would happen in Her-world’s future). 🙂

    I cried a bit from happiness when Jonze won the Oscar. 😀

    • Thanks a lot for reading! I agree aha me and my girlfriend didn’t know where to look at times, with that I merely try to indicate how Samantha’s growing knowledge and Theodore’s attachment could only lead to that forthcoming heartache. I was very pleased too when he won, very well deserved! Such an excellent film 🙂

  3. Wow, that was such an amazing review. It was detailed and had your personal opinion which I liked. I love The Moon Song too, it fits the story perfectly. You have an amazing blog here! 🙂

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