joaquin phoenix in Her film poster
Director: Spike Jonze
Writer: Spike Jonze
Released: October, 2013
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde and Scarlett Johansson

(Prepare to see a lot of screen grabs with quotes from this film around. The script is so poetic.)

Her is a sci-fi romance, drama hybrid that premiered at the 2013 New York Film Festival.

It’s set in the near future where rather than keeping one’s head down – staring at a phone screen – people now have an ear piece that respond to voice commands.

joaquin phoenix in Her filmThe operational system – or OS – that performs the requests now have personalities, and for all intense and purposes, are a personal assistant with feelings and emotions equal in complexity to humans.

This new update is something that the main character, melancholy and lonely Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), becomes immediately interested in.

By day, Theodore is a professional personal letter writer, which is an occupation where people who feel unable or unwilling to compose heart-felt and genuine letters to loved ones pay letter writers like Theodore to do so on their behalf.

joaquin phoenix in Her film(I’m really hoping this job gets invented soon. I’d be on that like white on RICE!)

I think his job is an example of how emotionally distant we are becoming as technology becomes the middle-man in human interactions.

It’s also the perfect job for this introverted character, who clearly expresses his emotions best when done so indirectly. I think this is a characteristic that allowed him to get so attached to his personalised OS, named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

Before long, Samantha and Theodore have bonded and their relationship grows.

Considering Samantha isn’t a physical character yet still a main character in the movie, Her is fantastically written and shot.

Amy Adams - Her movieOS/human relationships become a common phenomenon, and certainly makes the viewer question what makes a relationship, and what love is.

If you think about it, meeting people online was frowned upon not too long ago. I think the OS relationship story parallels the shift in society’s thinking about online relationships.

Or, a colder interpretation of this story is how we are avoiding personal relationships by hiding behind screens all the time. Where people are ‘being in love with their lap top or phone’. But I don’t think this is the writer’s ambition, according interviews I’ve seen.

I found Her a really thought-provoking film. I enjoy movies that focus on characters, human behaviour and social development, and I think this is quite an accurate depiction of what the future could look like.

Her is an interesting insight into the future of romantic relationships, an interesting reflection on what relationships fundamentally are, what the most important components are, and what the common obstacles are.

It’s a fascinating and compelling analysis of the human heart and its complexities.

Sorry, I know I’m babbling on – I could say a lot more – but my final point is about the clothes. I bet this is accurate of what we will wear in the future. No silver jump suits, but a mix of old fashioned pants and bold shirts.

Oh wait! This is my final point: the music by Arcade Fire is AMAZING.

Her may be a little too abstract or boring for some watchers. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jodie’s rating: 8/10

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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1 Response to Her

  1. Pingback: Sayonara, 2014! | NZ Film Freak

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