2014 / Director. Spike Jonze.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
HER is more or less ELECTRIC DREAMS meets LARS AND THE REAL GIRL. Set in a not-too-distant future Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely and depressed letter-writer (that's a future occupation) who is struggling to cope with his marriage breakdown and pending divorce. When he purchases a new operating system for his computer, he becomes besotted with the system's innovative ability to replicate the human condition. The OS is named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) and she sounds just like a regular woman and expresses human emotion. A bond soon forms and before he knows it Theodore has entered into a full-blown relationship with her. This is a curious film and has been widely misinterpreted by people. People seem to get stuck on the technological side of the story and view it as some kind of statement about the current world we live in... and while the film may take advantage of our tech-savvy society and offer a light-hearted satire, it only uses such things as a setting for an otherwise human story. This is a film about love and loss and the overall human condition. To capture a slightly futuristic setting much of the film was shot in Shanghai to represent Los Angeles and aside from the various exterior shots, the film is very much a minimalist piece. With a beautiful (and Oscar winning) screenplay, Joaquin Phoenix delivers another incredible performance. He carries the entire film and occupies 100% of it's screen time. For the most part he is performing alone, reacting to no one... it's fantastic to watch. Heaps of kudos to Scarlett Johansson too because her voice work is stunning. She give Phoenix's character a reason to fall in love with just the sound of her voice alone. I think HER is a wonderful film, albeit too long. 120 minutes is a stretch and unnecessarily long... nevertheless the film doesn't lag and it's exploration of the effects that love has on the mind is provoking and sincere. I expect it will test a lot of people's patience but I definitely recommend it.