A hipster geek with a broken heart living an insular existence buys a brand new multiplatform OS and embarks on the most intense love affair of his life. What follows is just feels to the limit.
Let’s not bury the lead here. “Her” is the best film I’ve seen in a few years. Heck. “Her” is perfect.
It takes the intoxicating mix of the emotional honesty in real life love and personal relationships and mixes it in with a very refreshing premise and takes a very simple idea and frames it within the highly imaginative and daring approach of Spike Jonze, in what is undoubtedly his finest effort to date.
The premise is that Theodore, a gifted writer going through an emotional holding pattern in a largely solitairy time while in the final throes of a divorce, develops a love affair with a state of the art operating system, designed to incorporate intuition and emotional learning with its owner.
Set in the near future that seems a very plausible extension of the current social media and tech trends. Theodore, against his better judgement, becomes fast friends then more with the very charming OS1 persona of Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
What’s great about the movie is in its presentation and honesty. The premise has been done in familiar permutations before, but what stands out here is the strength of the dialogue, and the level of deep emotional truth in the conversations that transpire.
It’s hard not to smile in the close personal dynamism that sparks up between Theodore and Samantha, it’s the skill of the matured writing of Spike that almost every conversation echoes of a similar one we have all had with our special other.
The cinematography and production is elegant, being able to portray the near future without throwing stacks of money at set design.
There are a lot of profile tight shots in “Her”. Designed to convey the nuances of non verbal communication. And it’s brilliant. Scarlett is never seen, so at many times, Joaquin becomes the mirror and canvas to counterpoint her emotiveness.
And while all having misses of their own, Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett J and all the small but select secondary cast are fantastic in their performances here bringing out stellar performances all around . Scarlett in particular here makes a strong argument here that as crazy as it sounds, the sexiest thing about her just might not be her easily go to physical sexuality. But rather the amazing canvas of her voice here that she uses flawlessly.
The film starts off opening the window into the beauty of the relationship and you almost get a sense that it could have been written in another context as just a traditional rom-com.
But then Spike starts to pull the threads on the peculiar issues facing such a unique relationship in his very clever usual way but it is in the way it is done, never coming off hackneyed or forced is what makes this project so damn good.
It does no justice to reference any of the many lines of dialogue here that leverage instant emotion in their poignancy and honesty. It is truly a film that has to be experienced than described.
The most important facet is how both primary characters change and evolve throughout the narrative and by that nature, the paradigms of their deep and profound exploration of what they have and indeed if it is truly, love.
It’s amazing how much the movie puts to shame and illustrates how shallow the conventional rom-com truly is.
The dialogue is spectacular, up there with the very best of Woody Allen, and the shots in silent moments, reeking almost of Wong Kar Wai.
Ultimately “Her” is a satisfying bittersweet mix of breathtaking romance and tear-jerking heartbreak. Whats remarkable is how niche and dorky the premise could have such a sadly beautiful yet uplifting and fulfilling serve of filmic perfection.
“Her” is an instant classic and goes up on this tired old bastard’s highest shelf classics that will never stop being watched.