Her (2013) – Film Review

Her is a film that is gloomy, strange, touching, and at times funny. I would consider it one of the most original romance films since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The premise of the film is bizarre, although that shouldn’t be surprising once you realize who directed and wrote this film. Spike Jonze, in this refreshingly original film, tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix). Theodore is a lonely writer with an impending divorce from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), leaving him with feelings of melancholy.

He learns of a new sentient operating system called “OS1” and purchases it. He discovers that the “OS1” he purchased has its own charming, sweet, and funny personality. His specific operating system likes to go by the name of Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). They both begin to develop feelings for each other. The film then begins to explore what it means to live and to love.

This is a tough film to pull off. The most important aspect of the film is making sure the relationship between Theodore and Samantha is believable. Thankfully, this film succeeds in that respect thanks to the wonderful writing from Spike Jonze. His writing makes the notion that Samantha has the ability to feel and perceive entirely believable. It’s also very convincing in the fact that a man like Theodore could indeed fall in love with a sentient operating system. Also, the story itself seems incredibly relevant considering the modern technology crazed world we currently live in.

The movie is carried by a marvelous and soulful performance from Joaquin Phoenix – certainly snubbed for an Oscar nomination this year. Although the competition is incredibly strong this year. Somebody had to be left out. Joaquin does a great job of portraying Theodore’s grief. Seeing flashbacks of a happier Theodore that contrast with his present low-spirited self really shows the range of emotion Joaquin can bring to a role. Another performance that was incredible was Scarlett Johansson. She only did voice work, yet the emotion she brought made it feel as if she was human and had feelings of excitement, jealousy, confusion, etc. She portrays complex emotions simply through the power of her own voice, which is certainly an impressive feat. Amy Adams does a good job in her supporting role as Theodore’s supportive friend who just happens to be named Amy.

This film has many profound moments and is extremely thought-provoking at times. It may not be for everyone due to its pace, but it’s definitely an extremely original film with some great performances. The outlandish premise is one I admire and it’s brave for a director to take the risk on making such a film. It’s unconventional, insightful, weird, charming, funny, touching, and so much more.

Some notes:

  • The movie has some really great cinematography.
  • The films score really helps evoke emotion during some of the more touching dialogue. Arcade Fire did an amazing job with the score.
  • Some lines I enjoyed –
    • “Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s like a socially acceptable form of insanity.” -Amy
    • “I’ve just come to realize that, we’re only here briefly. And while I’m here, I wanna allow myself joy.” -Amy

Rating: 9.0/10


4 thoughts on “Her (2013) – Film Review

  1. A beautiful film for many reasons, the main which being that it gives an odd romance, yet, has us still believe in it and root for it the whole time. Good review.

  2. Pingback: 'Her' Review: Joaquin Phoenix And A Scarlett Johansson Voice Star - MovieMelt

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