Spike Jonze’s Her is a pretty perfect Valentine’s day release: A love story that might not be ideal viewing for happily infatuated couples, but makes a definite statement about love.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore Twombly, a lonely and possibly anti-social writer whose job is to write “hand written” love letters – a service to those who can’t adequately express their feelings themselves. But he is lonely, introverted, and possibly depressed, and there’s obviously not a lot of loving going on in his life. Until he upgrades his computer’s operating system to a new, artificially intelligent one who develops a personality to suit his needs perfectly – in this case, a female voice called Samantha.
But as much as this sounds like a science-fiction film about the dangers of technology, it’s really a love story – as simple as that. It’s about a guy who meets a girl who seems perfect for him, but there are complications that make it difficult for them to be together. Director Spike Jonze and actors Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson convincingly portray depression, infatuation, sensuality, self-doubt, anxiety, and all other feelings that go along with romantic relationships both fresh and rotten.
Typical of Jonze’s films, Her combines a photographic-like style of cinematography with abstract montages – a relatively unique, not-quite-realistic vision which helps to simultaneously ground the film and sweep the audience away. Music (especially “The Moon Song” by Karen O) and editing help make a hyper-real world with science-fiction elements into a relatable, believable, yet slightly exaggerated place.
It’s a film about love that’s not about getting the girl, but about having the experience and learning from it. Ultimately, Her is probably not the Valentine’s movie we want, but the one we need.
Have you seen this film? What did you think about it? Leave a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with me. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed my review, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is caring.
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When not musing about films and music, Floris is either editing videos or making not-that-depressing music.