Finally making its nationwide debut, "Her" hit theaters for everyone this past Friday. While in limited release, the off beat story line intrigued audiences and critics alike. Winner of over 30 awards and nominated for 3 Golden Globes, including best picture and actor, this movie has been surprising audiences with each showing.
"Her" was written and directed by Spike Jonze, who is best known for "Where the Wild Things Are". It stars the ever mysterious and intriguing Joaquin Phoenix as a recently separated, divorcing man and the voice of Scarlett Johansson, as an operating system, who calls herself Samantha. Amy Adams and Chris Pratt offer complimenting performances to help round out the cast.
"Her" tells the story of Theodore (Phoenix) who is a skilled writer for an online hand written letter company, the Hallmark of the future one could think. We learn he had a rather happy life, until recently when he and wife separated, and now he seems rather dull and pathetic. Theodore works, stays in his own world and gets through life in solitude. He doesn't seem like he is alone though, with most of the other characters appearing to live a similar lifestyle. Solitary, phone in ear and generally avoiding human contact.
Theodore visits a technology store and purchases an operating system. After installing the system, the voice of any mans dreams, Johansson, comes on and introduces herself as Samantha. Just like any other relationship, Theodore and Samantha begin to learn about each other and form a surprising connection. The complexity and sensitivity of Samantha would draw any lonely person in and become a friend or lover of their dreams.
This movie takes the audience on a journey of discovery right along with the actors. It is filled with both tender, awkward and laughable moments. There were multiple times the theater filled with laughs or one would notice fellow audience members looking around with embarrassing glances at what was being said or done on screen. The audience is taken on a ride as a man forms and experiences all the highs and lows of having a romantic relationship with a computer.
With the Golden Globes only one day away, it's a must see before the winners are revealed. It's both an exploration of human emotions and what could happen if technology such as this were to be created. Phoenix delivers a heartbreaking, engrossing performance that proves he has many more years of great performances in him. The movie reminds us just how important true human connection is and how much we need it. In the world we live in, where social networks continue to gain popularity, we could all benefit from this reminder.