Her (2013)

her poster 2013 movie joaquin phoenix
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great writing, true script, great acting

Skipping the sci-fi look added and subtracted from the story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Her

Studio:  Annapurna Pictures

Genre(s): Romance/Drama/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): October 12, 2013 (New York Film Festival)/December 13, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

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Seriously, Samantha? I updated you last week…we’re going to be late for the movie!

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is going through a rough patch.  He’s getting a divorce from his estranged wife Catherine (Rooney Mara) and lives his life through the letters his company pens for others.  When a new operating system promises an artificial intelligence, Theodore decides to take a chance and meets Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson)…his OS.  As Theodore stumbles through bad dates and the separation of his friends Charles (Matt Letscher) and Amy (Amy Adams), Theodore finds himself falling in love with Samantha…and Samantha is falling in love with him as she discovers the world.  Can a man love a machine and can a machine love him back?

Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her is a science-fiction love story with a lot of comedy.  The movie was met with great critical acclaim and a strong box office response.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“The Moon Song”), and Best Production Design.

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Love a walk on the beach with my girl

Her is a movie of the times.  When Siri was released for Apple products in 2011, the jokes immediately began about people falling in love with Siri…she had all the answers.  It comes to make sense that the a movie would look at this new modern relationship between man and machine…Spike Jonze and Her just takes a different path then you would expect.

I had no idea where Her was going to go.  I kept having visions of fake love uncovered, judgmental family and friends, computer crashes, and new software rewrites…The movie really didn’t go in this direction.  Instead, you get one of the most honest “love” stories ever…which despite being unreal is more real and realistic than many portrayed on film.

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Best Supporting Phone Award

The romance feels very real and raises a lot of questions about the real now.  No one except his estranged wife judges Theodore on his relationship with Samantha…in fact many embrace it, and it appears that Theodore’s experience isn’t unique in the society.  The romance develops in a very realistic way, and it is a sharing relationship…sometimes Theodore is more involved and sometimes Samantha is more involved.  It also puts a bit of doubt in the reality of relationships in general in that no one ends up with a positive relationship and they all outlive each other…it’s a bit of a downer.

Despite being science-fiction, the movie is very real and the script is full of real ideas, concepts, and fears of people as they grow-up.  Theodore’s fear of never experiencing anything “new” again is a very real and scary idea, and I think it is actually what drives people once they’ve reached adulthood…fear compels change, relationships, and invention and the fact we as humans are becoming more detached ties into this fear of nothing new and in general threatens it…but Her shows that it could actually inspire change.

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I promised her a romantic sunset

The acting for the film is top notch.  Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor and you have to realize that he is acting by himself on screen for the most part.  Scarlet Johansson wasn’t the first choice, and Samantha Morton did most of the lines beforehand before being recast.  Despite not being on screen, Johansson feels like a real presence in the movie.  The rest of the cast is ok.  Chris Pratt plays Phoenix’s admiring coworker, Rooney Mara has some great scenes as the estranged wife (Carey Mulligan was originally cast).  Amy Adams is good as the “best friend”, but the final scenes with her really save the character which until then seems a bit wasted.

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I love double dating…or 1.5 dating

The movie despite being set in the future isn’t very futuristic.  The movie was shot around Los Angeles and Shanghai but looks clean and sterile.  Things like the video games are fun, but I have to say, I really hope that the weird high-waist pants the guys all wear aren’t the future.

Her is a real thinking film.  You don’t know where it will go, you know it probably won’t end great, but it could be a romance that happened in 1940 or 2040 because it is about emotion.  As the proliferation of home “companions” increases, stories like this might become more prevalent…I have been known to yell at Alexa from time to time (ok, maybe daily).  Spike Jonze and Joaquin Phoenix continue to prove they are the forefront of creation in film and made a great story.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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