Her is a thought-provoking story that forces viewers to question the nature of relationships, love, and what makes a person - a person. With excellent performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johannson, writer/director Spike Jonze crafts a sweet fantasy that represents his best work since Being John Malkovich.
Samantha is a wonderful girlfriend to Theodore. She is accepting, funny, smart, and attentive to his needs. She plays the piano masterfully, crafting beautiful melodies spontaneously to match the moments of their life together. She participates in a physics think tank group for fun and philosophizes about the nature of what makes a person real. She is everything Theodore ever wanted in a partner. She also happens to be his computer operating system.
Her can best be described as a quirky love story. Set in the undisclosed near future when computers and television screens dominate the world, it captures a sense of our future without being so alien that we can't identify with what we see. This feels like our world, only with better tech. The undisclosed setting of the film looks like San Francisco in 50 years. Apparently in the future everyone is a hipster.
Both Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johannson do some of the best work in their careers in Her. When it comes down to it, the film is basically just Phoenix talking to himself for a good 60 minutes throughout the movie. His ability to act off of nothing more than an off-screen voice is remarkable. His reactions when speaking to Samantha are very convincing and he embodies Theodore's reclusive personality effortlessly. Johannson has the equally challenging task of creating a convincing, 3-dimensional character using nothing but her voice and she succeeds wildly. Her ability to portray a large range of emotions using only the fluctuations of her voice is why Her works. Without her performance, many audience members would not be able to get past the initial creepy reaction most of us have when the idea of a man loving his computer is first presented to us.
Her also has some other great things going for it. The music was done by Arcade Fire and perfectly captures the feelings that the story creates. Fans of the popular band should not hesitate to grab the soundtrack. The supporting cast is also impressive with performances from Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, and Rooney Mara and a handful of other celebrity cameos in the form of OS voices.
Her is a great film. It's sweet and inviting but also makes forces the audience to think. It captures a version of the near future perfectly and gets great performances from it's two lead actors. Writer/director Spike Jonze has created another solid piece of storytelling that is amongst his best work yet. For those of you who enjoy quirky movies, this one is not to be missed.