With technology advancing every day, it won’t be too long before technology has a life of its own. We’ll be having conversations with each other, laughing together, and even having imaginary sex. Spike Jonze’s Her explores the idea of what it would be like for somebody to fall in love and develop a romantic relationship with an operating system.
This might sound weird to the average moviegoer, but thanks to Spike Jonze’s excellent screenplay and the outstanding performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, you fully buy into their relationship and care more about these two characters than about 95% of the characters you see (or hear) on screen. Her is one of the most interesting films of the year, and certainly one of the best.
Most of the credit goes to Spike Jonze who directed, co-produced, and wrote the film. His screenplay in particular is outstanding. Both Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore and Scarlett Johansson’s operating system Samantha are so likable that anytime the character’s are upset, you feel for them. There’s a moment when Theodore is called “creepy” and I literally felt anger. I feel bad for characters in films quite often but rarely do I actually feel anger.
Theodore is one of the most relatable characters I have ever seen. He’s just a good guy who wants nothing but to be happy. That happiness might cause ridicule and might be a little embarrassing. His relationship with Samantha is, of course weird as hell, but you fully support him because he’s not doing anything wrong and is just fulfilling his desire to be happy (which everybody on this planet can respect and relate to). Joaquin Phoenix absolutely knocks it out of the park with Theodore, bringing emotion and believability to the man in love with his laptop.
Speaking of that computer, Samantha is also unbelievably relatable. I say “unbelievably” because my biggest fear with the film was how they were going to pull off this character to actually make her feel like, you know, a character. And both Jonze and Johansson fully accomplish that. Samantha says she’s happy being an OS but you can tell she wants to be a human, to really “be” with Theodore (and yes, the computer character has layers to her). Her desire to achieve the impossible is more than understood, and the emotion that Johansson gives this character makes you feel for something that’s not even “real.” Spike Jonze actually did achieve the impossible with that one.
The rest of the supporting cast including Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde among others are all great in their roles. Combine that with the film’s gorgeous visuals and you have one hell of a film.
Not everything is perfect though. The film’s ending is a little weak. Things wrap up a little too nicely and convenient. One particular element of the ending isn’t explained at all. It’s an extremely important moment too that certainly wasn’t fully realized. This movie surprised on so many fronts but really disappointed in the final haul.
Don’t be turned off by the weird premise, Her is a fantastic film. The ending leaves a little to be desired among some other nitpicks, but the phenomenal screenplay and relatable characters go above and beyond on selling you on one of the strangest and most believable relationships ever put on film.