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'Her' review: Is she capable of love? Is he?

Most of the cast and the writer/director attend a screening of "Her."
Most of the cast and the writer/director attend a screening of "Her."
Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images



Earning a Golden Globe for original screenplay on Jan. 12, 2014, “Her” is likely to be nominated for multiple Oscars later in the week. With a fantastic performance from Joaquin Phoenix and the benefit of Spike Jonze’s beautiful and extremely creative imagination, “Her” is one of the top films of 2013.

In the near future, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) spends his days writing letters of love and support for other people at a future-generation greeting card job. Praised for his beautifully written, detailed notes of insightful love, Theodore actually cannot connect with other people in his own life. Resisting a divorce from Catherine (Rooney Mara), Twombly embraces a connection with his new computer, a “conscious” operating system, or OS, called “Samantha” (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As Samantha learns life and humanity through Theodore, Theodore learns a lot about himsxelf and questions his thoughts on love. With help and understanding from his friend Amy (Amy Adams), Theodore wrestles with the acceptance and reality of loving his OS.

Writer/director Spike Jonze is a visually creative genius. The director has an eye for details to create a whole other world that feels like reality. It’s this alternative version of reality that makes it easy to connect to his universe, wonder with him, and accept that the premise is not as far-fetched as it sounds. His best film so far, “Her” lingers with you as it motivates you to think about where humanity is going and question the sanity of love while questioning the potential existence of a conscious operating system (is there more to this operating system than just a response program based on aspects of Theodore?).

Along with Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix leads “Her” to success.” Phoenix carries the entire film as he convinces the audience that he is conversing and falling in love with his OS. Following his spectacular, powerful performance in last year’s “The Master,” Phoenix has a chance of yet another Oscar nomination, though he has tough competition this year. Though he shines in his responses to Samantha, Phoenix pairs well with Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara, and, especially, Amy Adams. He is totally committed to the role and believable in every scene.

“Her” is a thought-provoking film that feels long with the weight of its subject and the slowness of action of its main character. The perfect performances from its stars (notably from Mara, Adams, and Phoenix) along with a warm tone of oranges and reds that sets the mood, “Her” stimulates the mind to consider what it is to be human and comment on modern relationships. Merging ideas from films like “The Ghost in the Shell” and style like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (sci-fi only because of their near-future technological advancement concepts), “Her” feels timeless even with its futuristic idea. Jonze has created a provocative, challenging film full of quirky absurdity; it’s a film about love, the “socially acceptable form of insanity,” as Amy says.

Rating for “Her:” A

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“Her” is playing in many theatres in Columbus, including Gateway and Movie Tavern. For showtimes, click here.