Her – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

herHer – 4.5/5 – I won’t even go into a deep prologue.  I will only say one thing.  I wish this movie was released in my area in 2013 (instead of a late release).  If this film was released; it would have been my number 1 film of 2013.  Simply put it, Her is a marvel of an achievement; and it is funny how a man falling in love with his Operating System would have so much heart.

Premise:  Theodore is a lonely writer.  Nothing is good in his life, until he develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system, Samantha.  Here, things began to change, but even with this strange new connection, Theodore learns to become someone he thought was lost long ago.

Playing the main role of Theodore is Joaquin Phoenix.  In this role, he gives one of his best acting roles I have ever seen in a film.  With this character, he creates a man who is a very lonely soul; someone seeking some kind of semblance of a wholesome life in this world.  Theodore has hit a rough patch in his life, and the fragility that is created by Joaquin is very aesthetic and pristine.  No matter if it’s his mannerism, expression or the deeply surreal dialogue he has with his operating system, you watch the evolution of who this man is and what he becomes.  You feel his pain and agony, but also see as he wants to exude some feeling of purpose and worth.  When the evolution happens, you began to see how this is a very raw and intimate performance.  He brings power in subtle, and exudes a feeling of deep desire that anyone would long for.  You believe everything he is doing, and more.  Complimenting Joaquin’s masterful acting as Theodore is the operating system he falls in love with, Samantha.  Voiced by Scarlett Johansson, she provides one of her best performances in one of her hardest roles to date.  In being the voice of an artificial intelligent OS, she provides a spectacle of humanistic quality, even when there is nothing ‘vivid’ to see.  Her voice acting is so pure and real, it doesn’t matter you can’t see her.  Through her voice you feel her passion, pain and happiness.  She completely engulfs you in her innocence, watching her grow and become deeply self aware of life through Theodore.  Their relationship is amazing, causing you to see a real connection.  There chemistry between them make them feel like a real couple.  For the rest of the cast, you have some notable names in supporting roles:

Chris Pratt as Paul (Theodore’s boss)

Rooney Mara as Catherine (Ex-Wife)

Amy Adams as Amy (Neighbor/best friend)

There are a few others, but these are the most notable ones that have an impact on the film’s story.  These actors/actresses do a great job in injecting color into this world.  They help create a spectrum of what has had an effect in Theodore’s life.   The quality that they provide is big, and you feel importance to them; even in supporting role.

The direction of the film is one that draws deeply on the imagination, digging deeply with thought provoking themes.  Spike Jones (Writer and director) creates a film here that sounds outrageous on the surface, but it turns into a tale all too familiar; one that is down-to-earth with real meaning and heart.  When it comes to movies with his touch/style, there are two strong things that define his films; intricate dialogue and emotional characters.  This film doesn’t disappoint, as it fulfills in both areas.  In the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Theodore.  He works as a Letter Writer for a business in a future Los Angeles.  He writes meaning, poetic letters for other people as ‘love letters’.  The contrast to this ‘happy themed’ job is that he is a lonesome guy.  He has hit a definite hard patch in life and is just trying to seek some kind of reason to live.  His routines are mundane, and he has a very anti-social kind of behavior.  All of this begins to change when he upgrades his operating system to one that is built with an artificial intelligence.  This is when we are introduced to Samantha, his new OS.  As Theodore and Samantha began this adventurous new relationship, they also begin to learn more about each other, leading to some new feelings.  This relationship seems to be a strange one for both to follow (Samantha and Theodore), but it also quells fears of being strange for the audience.  This strangeness fades because of the involving dialogue, which goes between funny, satirical, intense and wondrous.  Watching these talks helps bring you to think more about ideas of romance, love and breaking boundaries.  The deeper their conversations go, the more progression you see with Theodore becoming more homely and welcoming for others he’s alienated.  His lonesome behavior begins to change, as well as his perspective on life.  At the same time, you watch as Samantha becomes more attached to him, evolving her AI with newly found feelings which helps draw a deeper curiosity for the human world.  You see how Spike Jones digs deep into the psyche of the emotions of a human while complimenting it with an ever persistent AI in Samantha.  All of this builds to a certain point in the movie where you begin to realize that both experiences are one in the same, helping the audience look beyond the premise and feel these two lives as one.  Their joy and intimacy is real to both, and they don’t care what others think.  There is an added subliminal message about getting lost in the ‘technology’ world, creating a vivid scope of integration of two worlds.  The lost and love intertwine very effectively with the dialogue, it will make you think about your own connections and what you get lost in.  The message of realism is so potent that it shows how any kind of relationship can help you experience a rebirth of self.  As the film progresses along, you see as this real relationship moves forwards; hitting highs and lows of what make any kind go.  The movie hits some slow points here, but it stays strong with the vivid themes.  Eventually, the film leads to a place where both Theodore and Samantha must reach a certain conclusion about their relationship, realizing what certain things can and can’t ever be.  In the climax, there is a deeply involving perspective that is shown upon ‘life’, giving reasons when things shouldn’t have been so eventful.  You see a real purpose to the simple premise, even within one that seemed completely ironic to what you feel in the end.

The visuals of the film are very aesthetic, but are accepting to what happens in the film.  From the creation of this ‘not-to-distance’ futuristic Los Angeles, to the general creation of Theodore’s home, work and other places he visits, you feel a simple artistry to everything.  In the visuals, there are also very wonderful ‘one-shot’ moments.  Here, you see how these shots help add that purity to the reflection.  Another great aspect is the score; the music is amazingly used in this film.  When it comes to the music played throughout, no matter if it’s the background or when Samantha or Theodore are having intimate moments, it adds a gentle touch to the romance.

Overall, Her is the best film of 2013 that wasn’t on my list, and one of the best romance films I have ever seen.  You can make any kind of romance film, but one that is done with this premise helps create a deeper connection then you would have never thought could be possible.  Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson give great performance, and help craft something special.  If you’re into taking chances on new and original films, take a chance on this one.  You will come out amazed at what you see.

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