WRITTEN BY: Spike Jonze
DIRECTED BY: Spike Jonze
STARRING: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
RATING 4.5 stars
It is easy to joke about how technology is constantly changing and we are relying more than ever on our phones and computers to do just about everything for us. But, there is also a very real skepticism and fear about the direction the world is going with so many gadgets. Her holds a mirror up to society and cleverly explores the relationship between people and technology in a quirky romantic comedy/drama. While Spike Jonze's film is funny in parts, it also challenges its audience with its layers of depth.
Set in the not too distant future, Her introduces audiences to Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely writer struggling to move on after the break-up of his marriage. He develops an unusual romantic relationship with his operating system that calls herself Samantha (voice of Scarlett Johansson). While it seems to be an outlandish concept, it is not so crazy within the context of this film, because in the future, many people are a little too attached to their gadgets.
There is no doubt Phoenix is an impressive actor and he is brilliant in this film. He is funny at the right times, but also endearing and sympathetic. The "sex" scenes in particular are very good. Amy Adams plays his ex-girlfriend and best friend. While she is good, she has a sub-plot that is not really worth exploring. Johansson has never really impressed me and her "sexy" husky voice is not actually all that sexy. Kristen Wiig has a small role as the voice of a stranger who Theodore has phone sex with when he is feeling lonely. She is hilarious.
The only problem I really have with this film is that it falters a bit in the middle before coming back again strongly. It is also perhaps a little too long. Nonetheless, Her is a profound and emotional film with a thought-provoking message.