Her (2013) (R)

This is a guest review by KJ Craig

Theodore Twombly [Joaquin Phoenix] begins the movie talking about how love makes you feel like you’re a part of something. Part of someone. It’s one of the best opening monologues about love I’ve heard in a movie… Did he just say “Love, Loretta”?

Theodore is employed at “Beautiful-Hand-Written-Letters.com”, where he writes letters for other people. He speaks it to the computer, the computer writes it, product delivered. He turns on the tiny Bluetooth equivalent in his ear, and his phone reads all his emails and texts to him as he heads home… Alone. He stays up, has sexy talk with unknown women of the internet, then goes to sleep repeat the next day. 

He’s intrigued by an ad for OS1, the world's first Artificial Intelligence-based operating system. He appears to buy one immediately. After a few questions, he meets Samantha [Scarlett Johansen]. How did she come up with her name? She took .4 seconds to read a book of baby names and liked that one the most. Duh. She immediately begins to help him organize, where we discover more depth to Mr. Twombly. Samantha not only helps him organize his files and e-mails, but helps him organize his life and helps him truly live again. So cheesey and lactose filled, but alas that’s the story.

I was extremely excited my local theater got “Her”. It was an unsuspected surprise and I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch it. I thought the movie was beautifully done. Everything was clearly in a future, more technology advanced society… It looked like what our future could look like in 30, 40 years. Hipsters would adore the costume design, and it was consistent throughout the movie. The acting was great. I think Joaquin deserved at least a nomination in this year’s Oscars, seeing as he was basically alone in most of the shots, responding to what was a voice in his head. Scarlett did a great job as well, conveying the emotion without overdoing it. Amy Adams and Chris Pratt did their roles splendidly. The camera work was great. Arcade Fire produced a pretty good soundtrack! Like I said, hipster love. This movie could have been way overdone, but it wasn’t. The only issue I had with the movie was the plot itself… Exactly what it was awarded for.

I personally believe “new” and “fresh” ideas are given too much credit often times, like somehow that means it has to be good because it’s original. The opening was great. How people were developed was awesome. Samantha shows up and is an epic hero that is doing so much for Theodore! Huzzah Samantha! But then there’s this moment where things got… Strange. There’s no better word for it. It was something I could have looked past, but then the rest of the movie builds off that moment and occasionally meets up with other plot points later. Although I understand she’s an AI, Samantha is given way too much power over what she can and can’t do. I can believe that she would be capable of evolving emotions, but the moment she can feel, as in the sensory input of touch… Just no. 

Overall the elements of this movie were great. Ruined half-way through by the plot. Way to go, Oscar winning Spike Jonze. 

Score: ★★½

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