‘Her’ Movie Review
Her – Movie Plot and Review
What is real? What constitutes a relationship? Are humans free? These are some issues Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ tackles with and does so in an intelligent way which is touching and incredibly thought provoking, but it’s inconsistent pacing hinders the ability of these issues to fully resonate with the viewer.
I was sceptical about watching ‘Her’ because I didn’t believe a film which involved a man falling in love with an operating system (OS) could be entertaining. I was wrong. ‘Her’ is so simplistic and the execution of the film is ever so rewarding, from the cinematography, to the meticulously crafted script which allowed for superb acting. What I loved about this film is it’s controversial depiction of the near future in which mankind in so engrossed with technology ‘real’ relationships cease to exist. But the film presents the idea that a relationship does not have to be physical and doesn’t have to be tangible for it to be ‘real’. In fact, Joaquin Phoenix’s relationship with Scarlett Johansson is more compelling than most romances ever put on the big screen. The irony of this is that Scarlett Johansson is never visible, all we hear is her voice and this is enough to establish one of the best romances I have seen in a while, regardless of the absence of her body.
The plausibility of this relationship is solely down to the acting, Phoenix engages in this role and nails this melancholic mood of the man pre-OS. Johansson’s voice acting is superb, her voice is powerful enough to create a presence, be it non-physical. Credit it also due to Amy Adams who plays Theodore’s friend and she shares his values, as in they both believe their is nothing wrong with a non physical relationship. But their are subtle personality traits of hers which suggests she is insecure and could be linked to Jonze’s critique of how humans are now more comfortable with AI relationships then they are with human ones. Whilst the acting isn’t groundbreaking, it is more than adequate as the actors are the ones who create this eery sci-fi world.
The plot of ‘Her’ is ambiguous and open to interpretation. In one sense, ‘Her’ serves as a social critique and it can be viewed that Jonze criticizes a world in which humans are too heavily invested in technology and subsequently human interaction is cut off. But, my interpretation is that Jonze does allude to the world becoming like this but the relationship with Theodore and Samantha is presented as real despite no physical interaction. For me, the film is more about the human condition as opposed to a social critique. The film’s in depth focus is on what compromises a relationship and the ending of the film makes the viewer question what he/she knows about our own human experience.
With this being said, the premise of the film outweighs the execution. The film is not without its faults. The ideas are far more poignant on paper. What I disliked about the film was its pace, it oscillated far too frequently to the extent that some parts sagged in comparison to others and it detracts you from film. More pressingly, the film had the potential to rework the ‘romance’ genre. The films romance is ground-breaking but the events throughout the romance itself it clichéd. It follows the romantic genre’s formula of a couple who fall in love, fall out of love and fall in love again. I believe ‘Her’ missed the opportunity to twist this and instead it succumbed to the generic formula.
‘Her’ is different, it’s funny, charming, romantic and thought provoking. It’s screenplay was rightly accredited at the Oscars as the screenplay allowed all the emotions to come together in the film and work. It’s faults are in the pacing and generic series of events. Nevertheless, the romance that ensues between a human and an OS is presented as something substantial and real. Overall, the films existentialist approach, that an individual shouldn’t cease to love something in fear of being judged moved me.