Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: her

Release date: January 10, 2014
Running time: 120 minutes
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt
Who to see it with: Someone looking for an original, genuine, and off-beat romantic movie.


her is a fresh, interesting romantic movie. After watching the trailer, I had an inclination that I would love it. After experiencing this complex look into both traditional and more abstract relationships twice, I can honestly say I loved this film. Spike Jonze's film is set in a believable near future where Theodore (Phoenix), a lonely writer, develops a relationship with an artificial intelligence. This seemingly preposterous setting acts as a launching pad for a deep look into both traditional and unconventional relationships in an increasingly connected and tech dependent society.

What stands out about this film is the brilliant performance of Joaquin Phoenix. By being the only on screen presence for the majority of the movie, he is asked to carry much of the film and does so amazingly. His conversations with "Samantha," the AI (Johansson) have a very real quality to them, from an initial hesitance born of the new situation and inherent awkwardness, to a more comfortable honeymoon stage in a relationship, you are easily drawn into these two characters and want to believe that their romance can succeed. Part of the credit also goes to Johansson for delivering a great performance that is both realistic but also pleasantly confined to the limitations of what a artificial intelligence might be able to know. 

Additionally, Spike Jonze's cinematography is absolutely stunning, with some beautiful shots lit to perfection. He has an amazing eye for film and the beauty of the "paradise" world is perfectly contrasted with how lonely a large portion of the population are. It's such an interesting premise and is realized perfectly. Everything about this unbelievable story is believable. The technology, the fashion, and the mannerisms of the populace all feel like something that we could have in a couple decades. In the end, what Spike Jonze has managed to accomplish is create a genuine, believable movie about a wholly unbelievable situation. 

Watch it.

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