HER Movie Review
Spike Jonze had proven himself a master craftsman when visually translating Charlie Kaufman‘s inventively exquisite Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, yet here he’s impressively written his own screenplay that solidifies himself as a master auteur. Her is a romantic science fiction tale that deeply examines our current relationship with technology and explores the delusiveness of love as we attempt to conquer our alienation by pursuing fantastical relationships that seem ideally out of our grasp.
Joaquin Pheonix flawlessly delivers a complex performance as introverted writer Theodore Twombly, who’s dealing with an impending divorce and has found himself connecting with his new operating system that has named herself Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As they bond intimately over life’s philosophical wonders, his fascination to her becomes stronger. Her quick ability to absorb information at an exhilarating rate is almost impresive as her human characteristics that seem to adapt as naturally as his very own. As Samantha is never physically present on screen, Pheonix’s ability to portray both characters emotional state is a redefining showcase of this man’s talent. That is to take nothing away from Johansson as it is the believability that she brings to Samantha, which really solidifies the execution of this high concept work. As their relationship evolves, Theordore’s close friend Amy (Amy Adams) becomes a significant piece of the puzzle by offering another perspective in the picture at large.
Amy herself is going through a messy divorce and is inspired by Theodore’s relationship to Samantha as she begins to bond with the OS that her husband leaves behind. “Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s like a socially acceptable form of insanity.” is one of many fascinating statements that this film is making through Amy and it underlines the fundamental side of humanity that is being neglected as we avoid interacting with one another. As Samantha increasingly grows insecure about Theodore’s relationship with his impending ex-wife, she attempts to strengthen their own relationship by introducing a surrogate named Isabella (Portia Doubleday) that will allow them to experience physical intamacy, this becomes too overwhelming for Theodore and adds to Samantha’s growing frustration. As the challenges between them pile up, they separately grow stronger as individuals. Theodore learns to embrace his humble sensitivity and come to terms with his own intelligence while Samantha evolves past her human aspirations. It all comes back to how Amy and Theodore are both dealing with the same issues of loneliness on their own and realize how important their presence in the other’s existance actually is in the scheme of it all.
Her is an insightful commentary on antisocial behavior in society and a classic love story brought to life with vivid cinematography by Hoyte Van Haytema (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Spike Jonze seamlessly transcends intriguing concepts in a way that makes them intimate and relatable and whatever he chooses to write for himself to direct next should be on everyone’s radar in the future.