Hey has anyone ever watched a film called "Bicentennial Man" starring Robin Williams? In it, he plays a robot named Sam that ultimately wants to become real and he makes all the arraignments of doing just that such as forming emotions, creating skin for himself, even going so far as to creating sexual organs to please the wife he raised as a child, until ultimately he was accepted as a real person. Of course it was on his death bed, but still he achieved the goal of being real and marrying the woman whom he cared for. So let’s take that idea, flip and reverse the genders and you’ll get something like “Her”, a sci-fi romance written and directed by Spike Jonze; this dude has some imagination and I love it!
“Her” takes place in the not too distant future and we center on Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely office worker who writes heartfelt leters for a living; he's also in the midst of a divorce and at the moment he's not very social. The only true positives in his life is his friend Amy (Amy Adams) and his video games. But all that's about to change as a new computer AI OS (called OS1) is announced, which Theodore installs; it quickly does an assessment of him and when all is said and done, he’s given Samantha (Scarlett Johansson – The Avengers) a name of her own choosing; Samantha is more than just an OS, she’s her own consciousness that can evolve over time and adapt to her user. Things start out sort of rocky, but eventually Theodore takes a liking to Samantha and eventually the two fall in love. In doing so, the two go through all of the trials and tribulations that come with being in this sort of twisted relationship; the only downside is that one of them lacks a physical presence. So the big question is can the two make this weird love connection work?
When I first saw trailers for “Her”, I thought it was a film about some guy getting personal service at a hotel he frequents with the two eventually falling in love. I wasn’t too far off from the truth. And while a man falling in love with a computer does add something of a creepy vibe to the picture, it’s also quite relatable if you think about it as two people having a long distance relationship. That holds especially true if you’ve ever been or are currently in a long distance relationship. I know I can relate.
“Her” is an awkward, a little creepy, yet it’s the most beautiful, imanginative and original film I’ve ever laid eyes on this year, worthy of all the accolades it has been receiving, including all the Oscar awards it’s been nominated for. “Her” runs you through the gamut of emotions – happiness, sadness, anger and yes envy (I was a little envious at times. Especially when he was playing that game that talked back to him. I WANT THAT!!). The story is genius! Spike Jonze has crafted an engaging and compelling love story between a man and his computer that really draws you into their world, compounded with amazing visuals and an enchanting score. But what truly sells this film are the actors; I know Joaquin Phoenix can act his ass off when he puts his energies into it, but I never knew he could almost, single-handedly carry an entire film and rock the part of Theodore. You can’t help but feel sad when Theodore feels sad, smile when he’s happy and feel angry when he feels angry. What completes Theodore is connection and rapport with Samantha, played beautifully well by the sweet, raspy voice of Scarlet Johansson. She brings life and a ton of emotion to her AI character; and that’s an incredible feat considering she has zero time onscreen. In the end, “Her” is an incredible film and if you haven’t seen it, do yourselves a favor and check it out.
“Her” requires some serious patience as its long (more than 2 hours) and the pacing runs at a snail’s pace. I found myself checking my watch more than a few times. I still enjoyed the story, but I wish it could have been paced a bit smoother.
‘Her” is still making the theatrical rounds and I highly recommend seeing it; I’ve sat through my share of romances and “Her” ranks up there as one of the best if not THE best I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s a futuristic romance that’s well crafted and very well acted. Out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “Her” a 4.5.