Movie Review: Her

From the imaginative mind of director and writer Spike Jonze comes a well-spun tale of love, tragedy, and soulful discoveries. Her tells the story of a lonely, introverted man, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), who spends his time writing love letters for people who can't do it themselves. Struggling to get over the divorce of him and his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), Theodore decides to get a new operating system with an artificial intelligence, in order to keep him organized and keep him company. Beginning the system, he meets "Samantha" (Scarlett Johansson), the female OS that occupies the system. The two quickly develop an endearing and deep relationship, discussing their shared opinions on love and life. But, as Theodore struggles with finding the right path to dealing with the real emotions of true love, he discovers that his meaningful bond with Samantha may not be the only way for him to discover those hidden emotions. Spike Jonze manages to deliver a final addition to last year's best films by allowing us into his mesmerizing, futuristic tale of how one man finds his closest, most endearing relationship in the most unlikely and odd way.

Her was a quirky, fresh, and inspiring love story that, being such a rare topic for film, has never been seen, or experienced, like this in a long time. Spinning out an odd, yet loving story of one man's struggle to deal with the social and emotional aspects of love and life, Spike Jonze delivers a futuristic look into how people communicate with each other and how the idea of love has been revolutionized. Jonze shows us a future where people are majorly connected to their technology, specifically the social aspect of it through communication. But is it really the future? Or is it just Jonze's vision of our world today? Her has successfully spun a tale, set in a future where technology aids us at every turn, of a man who struggles to find love in a real woman falls for an artificial intelligence with a desire to see the world. While this story may be sad and somewhat tragic, Jonze has managed to also deliver a tale of meaningful love and joyful inspiration.

From voice-controlled letter writing to surrogate bodies, Spike Jonze's idea of a futuristic world isn't that far-fetched like most others on-screen these days. Jonze manages to provide a look into a future where not much has changed, except for the fact that communication technology has become even more advanced. While new operating systems and voice-controlled innovations are being developed today, Jonze has created a new vision of how these innovations have all been connected and how they can improve, and change, people's lives for the right reasons. Jonze's smart and slick vision of an OS with a sensitive side fuels the budding relationship at the center of this endearing tale, it ultimately becoming the tragic fault in the main character's desire for a true relationship. With Spike Jonze's subtle futuristic aspects creating a whimsical setting and story for the film, Her is the perfect romantic comedy-drama with the perfect amount of science fiction to make it truly realistic. 

From anti-social dreamers to mustached coworkers, the cast of this film was so amazing it's too hard not to enjoy it. The smaller roles of Olivia Wilde as Theodore's failed blind date, and Chris Pratt as his odd coworker, along with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as chat room members, were essential to the story and brought decent amounts of comedy to the drama film, making the film even more wonderful than it already was. The main cast, lead by the talented Mr. Joaquin Phoenix, was the driving force of the film's moving nature and endearing story-telling. Phoenix, who plays the introverted man who searches for companionship in a charming OS, delivers a dazzling performance as a sweet, yet troubled man who struggles to grasp real love after his prolonged divorce from his childhood friend and wife. I haven't seen Phoenix in anything else, so this was a wonderful film to introduce the charming actor to me as I admired his cheerful and tender take on this mesmerizing character. Playing Amy, the quirky friend of Theodore's whom he confides his secrets to, Amy Adams tosses away the fake British accent and seductive outfits of her last film American Hustle, in order to become the sweet, down-to-earth friend of Theodore's. The two connect amazingly on-screen from the very start, both being the socially awkward match for each other. If you enjoyed Amy as the scheming partner-in-crime in American Hustle, you're sure to appreciate her dedication to her acting in this film. Then, there's Scarlett Johansson, who lent Jonze her lovely voice in order to embody the wonderful OS named Samantha. The subject of Theodore's conflicted love, Samantha tried all she could to see the world through his eyes, her main purpose to evolve like a human being and understand the meaning of life. But, in their limited and somewhat odd relationship, the two know they cannot be together forever, and still try to see the world as it is now, before it all changes into something else entirely.   

Overall, this film was an amazing film to end the past year, and ring in the new one. With a tale of conflicted love, blind inhibitions, and high-waisted pants, Her was a surprising delight and successfully molded the foundation of how one good filmmaker can see the world in a much more defining way. Creating a visual and well-written masterpiece, Spike Jonze has convinced us that he can deliver a true love story with fantastic characters and realistic aspects of a world that is just around the corner.

I gave this film a 9 out of 10 because the cast was down-to-earth and amazing, the cinematography was mesmerizing, and the technology was so close to today's technology, it felt like a modern-day film inside of a futuristic sci-fi film. Spike Jonze is a visionary with a masterful talent for writing, and I can't wait for his next project to come out.  

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