Her (2013)

her_2013_poster
Her (2013)
  • Time: 120 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara

Storyline:

In the not so distant future, Theodore, a lonely writer purchases a newly developed operating system designed to meet the user’s every needs. To Theordore’s surprise, a romantic relationship develops between him and his operating system. This unconventional love story blends science fiction and romance in a sweet tale that explores the nature of love and the ways that technology isolates and connects us all.

7 reviews

  • Joe O'Loughlin

    I just saw “Her”, with Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansen (voice only) and Amy Adams. It was complex, humane, sweet and emotionally painful.

    It’s from Spike Jonze, who also directed “Being John Malkovich”, “Adaptation” and “Where the Wild Things Are”. So yes, his style will seem weird to some. And even though he’s a director who likes to use music—he’s collaborated with Fatboy Slim, Beastie Boys and Björk—I was a little disappointed in the underwhelming score in this movie.

    Here Jonze imagines a future in which everyone seems chemically calmed, safer, kinder and more considerate, but tragically even more isolated from each other than we are now. People wear dull, rough-textured, unshapely clothing in muted colors. In the morning, they drag themselves out of their comfortable beds, leave their high-rise cocoons, and spend their days working in cubicles where the atmosphere is awash in Muzak-like generic tunes by Arcade Fire, or walk around in a more civilized version of an American city (Los Angeles) where inside the buildings there are boring sepia tones despite massive windows to the outside, and once outside, scenes are basked in permanent late afternoon and diffused amniotic light, or night-lit with urban spires like a Michael Mann movie. Even the beach scene is de-flavored and lacking any kind of visual edge other than an invasive brightness that makes you squint.

    Joaquin Phoenix’s character, who falls in love with “Her”, tends to wear lots of burnt orange and yellow (this symbolism still baffles me), rocking his own nerd style with a big safety pin in his breast pocket that holds his smartphone, which is his connection to his “OS” (operating system). Their relationship grows and amazes, but only because it is so human and seems so full of possibility. At first, I thought, “Cool. I want an OS like her.” But that changed.

    Joaquin gets a whole lot of screen time. There are many close-ups, and his acting is raw, sometimes very raw, and expressive, showing us things that apparently come from so deep inside him that it’s occasionally embarrassing to watch. But I guess that’s what makes a good actor.

    It seemed to me that the movie celebrates what Jonze is telling us is humanity’s tragic flaw(?), and ironically what saves the protagonist in the end: our evolutionary imperative for monogamous relationships. But in the end, it seems to also evoke our less than admirable cultural imperative to “stick with your own kind”. And I think another message is that humans are imperfect, especially when it comes to our emotions, and that we need to accept that fact in order to be “happy”.

    I think it’s also about the long path of evolution that the human mind is on. It does seem to parallel my own suspected course of the future evolution of our minds, and made me ask the question, “Will our brains evolve to achieve ‘enlightenment’ someday?”

    And when you think about it, of course it’s set in L.A., where Americans seeking serenity reach the end of the continent and can go any further, and finally have to come to terms with themselves, … or not.

  • I wrote and posted this review using my computer and the internet, and you are reading this review using a computer and the internet – it’s not a secret technology has forever changed how we function, operate and interact with other people; technology has become a big part of our everyday life. And from the looks of it, technology in the future will become more and more advanced and will soon play an even bigger part in our life. Spike Jonze’s latest movie – Her – deals with the topic of human obsession with technology (among other things) and is probably one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while.

    Set in what is, possibly, the near future, ‘Her’ follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely man whose job is to write love letters in the name of other people. He leads a troubled life – he’s recently gotten separated (but not divorced) from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara) and he spends his solitary life, mostly, by having a hard time prioritizing between video games and Internet porn. Apart from his work colleagues Paul (Chris Pratt) and Amy (Amy Adams), he has no interactions with other people whatsoever. One day he decides to purchase an operating system, chooses the operating system’s voice to be female and the operating system introduces herself as Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Soon he falls in love with her.

    While the premise of ‘Her’ is rather simple and the movie itself isn’t groundbreakingly original (it tends to get kind of predictable and it somewhat reminded me of Lars and the Real Girl), Spike Jonze easily managed to overcome these obstacles and to create a very sweet and charming movie. And he managed to do all that by creating fascinating, appealing characters and developing interesting relationships between them. The relationship between Samantha and Theodore is at the same time unquestionably touching and challengingly provocative. ‘Her’ attempts to portray more than stereotypical love: it attempts to analyze the nature of love itself, the nature of people, and the nature of artificial intelligence – and it often works both as a character study and as a philosophical movie.

    Even though Theodore’s compassion and love for Samantha can be rationally explained, his actions are still undoubtedly driven by his emotions. It’s the same for me. My love for ‘Her’ could easily be rationalized – I could explain how Joaquin Phoenix is amazing as ever, how Scarlett Johansson is the perfect choice for the sensual voice of Samantha, how the movie’s soundtrack is great, how Spike Jonze’s directing is brilliant and how it accurately portrays the human race’s obsession with technology without patronizing too much – but all these arguments fall flat in comparison with the fact that ‘Her’ is a heartwarming, heart-wrenching, soul-stirring and a very beautiful story overall.

    Rating: 9/10

  • HER (English,2013) is one of the best movies of 2013 which bagged gold at many award stages.Now it is having 5 Oscar nominations to its credit along with the Best Picture nominations.This movie tells the story of Theoador who happened to be alone all in his life.He got a new friend in an Operating System called S1 which functioned with the Artificial Intelligence Technology.Know more about the rest?watch this movie.Don’t miss it for all the serious movie lovers out there.This is really the dark horse this year.Sure!!I rate it as 8/10!!

  • Spike Jonze, the mastermind behind the fantastic Being John Malkovich, brings us a timely romance between a man and an operating system, doing a brilliant analysis on the influence of technology in people’s lives and how its rapid evolution can reinvent the way relationships work. “Her” can be funny, relatable and very touching, approaching a not so distant future that our society is heading to. Another thing that was very interesting to see is how Samantha, the revolutionary OS, begins to grow and evolve as her relationship with Theodore progresses, but also helps him carry on and change as a person. Joaquin Phoenix is truly remarkable as this lonely and broken man who is unable to let his past go, giving another phenomenal performance. Scarlett Johansson really impressed me as well and made me feel all kinds of emotions just by guiding me through her voice. Her is absolutely a masterpiece, being one of the most meaningful films I’ve ever seen.

  • A lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) develops a relationship with his newly purchased operating system, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), that’s designed to meet his every need. Spike Jonze is known for his weird but wonderful films (Where the Wild Things Are, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) and Her is no different.

    I’m always excited when a Spike Jonze film comes out as I know it’s going to be so strange, but beautifully written and amazing to watch. This is Jonze’s first film he has written solo and shows in this film why he is such a fantastic writer and director. Her is nominated for five Oscars, which includes Best Picture, which is nothing short of deserving.
    To read the full review click here.


  • “The past is just a story we tell ourselves.”

    Feeling lonely. Abandoned. Then there’s the moment you get to know someone. The chemistry that is 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 bought himself 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.

    More reviews here : http://opinion-as-a-moviefreak.blogspot.be

  • The human condition has been a topic of study for ages. Nobody truly understands what goes on upstairs in the cavities of our mind and how it works. There have been professionals that say they understand the process of which all come to one intersection point, but the whole entire truth to how the human brain works is so vastly unique from anything in the world, that we still have not entirely figured it out. This is why mankind has not been able to completely make artificial intelligence REAL intelligence. We are getting closer that’s for sure, but this fulfillment still has not been achieved yet. Once that day is realized, the world will have a very controversial topic to talk about it. Until then, let’s imagine if this was already integrated into our lives and we had no issues with it. What would happen if that newly created intelligence became something more, an entity larger than anyone could think of and how would it affect us personally? This is one of the many questions director Spike Jonze hopes to show us.

    Also taking on the role as writer, Jonze’s screenplay focuses on the relationship of a divorced man Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and his newly acquired operating system (OS for short) named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Being that Jonze only has two other theatrical director credits (Being John Malkovich (1999) & Adaptation. (2002)), it’s great to see after such a long time he can produce strongly admired work. This trend is parallel to that of director Ben Lewin of The Sessions (2012). There is almost nothing that can be said that doesn’t work in this production. The script to this film is beyond great. The themes that it covers dives deep into the psyche that is the human condition and what we must endure as a species with this complex processor in our head called a brain. It also demonstrates life lessons that occasionally (or frequently) we forget about as we live our lives on a consistently scheduled basis. One of the biggest examples is just the joy of living, no matter what that consists of.

    In life, everyone experiences emotion. Negative and positive emotions. Whether this is love, jealousy, confusion, frustration, euphoria, etc…these are all moments in time in which we as an individual are given a chance to grow and learn. These kinds of events are what Theodore and Samantha go through together. Jonze’s script also covers what happens when one gets too attached and how that affects one’s judgement in a specific moment in time. This kind of development is also given to the supporting characters played by Amy Adams and Chris Pratt. All characters end up giving each other some kind of advice that is much deeper after living through some kind of struggle. These are all very important scenes because they help not only the characters understand each other better, but it also indirectly teaches and motivates the viewers of this phenomenal movie. Rarely do viewers come across a film that looks to assist them in life.

    Of this, it is important to just move with life. Jonze’s script has a moral and that is time and life is forever changing. Nobody can stop change and if it’s refused, the change will be harder to handle. Things may seem weird at times and almost like they shouldn’t be happening, but as humans, we must figure out what we want. Once we know what we want, we must believe that we will get what we want and then feel as though what we want is already there. This is practically the same lesson that author Rhonda Byrne of The Secret is trying get across. Live life to the fullest and do not measure yourself based on your past. Learn from it and move on, this is all that can be done. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson have amazing chemistry together and are quite amiable. Although Johansson is not on screen once, the scenes they both share together are so relatable in so many ways that it would be hard for anyone to deny going through at least one of the moments presented on screen.

    The cinematography to this movie was shot by Hoyte Van Hoytema. Hoytema has also worked on other well acclaimed films like The Fighter (2010), Interstellar (2014) and Spectre (2015). Hoytema shots only move when needed, but lay still most of the time, especially during scenes that involve dialog between Theodore and Samantha. It just really takes you in. The lighting and coloring is great too, very bright and vibrant. The Canadian band Arcade Fire composed the musical score and it’s great in its simplicity. The score mixes synths with piano and occasional guitar. That’s really at that was needed. With these instruments alone, the score accomplishes the raw emotion needed to complete each scene and it works every time. Again though, why can’t more production companies hire actual bands to do scoring. Mastodon did it in Jonah Hex (2010), Daft Punk did it in Tron: Legacy (2010) and M83 from Oblivion (2013). It’s unique and should become a trend!

    There’s nothing that can be found that needs work. Everything from the acting, music, camerawork and especially the writing is massively successful in doing what it needed to do. Writer / director Spike Jonze has created a movie for the ages that viewers can actually take life lessons from. Hopefully, when we create REAL intelligence, we create a system like Samantha.

    Points Earned –> 10:10

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