Movie Review: Her

Details from IMDB:

Her

Her (2013)

126 min  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  10 January 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.6/10 from 13,876 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 113 user | 133 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

Director:

Spike Jonze

Writer:

Spike Jonze

Stars:

Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

As anyone who reads this blog knows I often see movies because I like certain actors (as I’m sure lots of people do), I combine this with positive things I’ve heard about the movie and the rating it gets on IMDB (while I’m always getting details from it, hell of a site). I had heard this was a great movie and of course I love Scar Jo and Joaquin Phoenix (when he’s not doing some stupid stunt), so I went this past Sunday.

Main Points:

I have been thinking and talking about this movie for days, I loved it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s flaws but I’ll talk about the positive first. The movie has the fascinating idea that computers become so advanced that your OS (a nod to Apple I think) can be a person just as real as you, minus the physical form. Theodore (played wonderfully by Joaquin) is a lonely guy going through the last stages of his divorce. He doesn’t have many friends and spends a lot of time alone. The movie explores well what it’s like (not that I’ve done it) to live in a big city and yet feel all alone. Everything changes when he buys his new OS and she name’s herself Samantha.

Also present in the movie is general thoughts on the future. The clothes people wear are different, just slightly. No one seems to wear belts, or buttons. Cars are nowhere to be seen and neither are planes. Physical books are almost non-existent as everyone uses there computer or phone to read. The idea that despite the incredible ease of using our devices to communicate people still feel isolated and alone. The only form of long distance travel seems to the train and video games become hologram based and fully interact (and are aware) of the person playing it.

Even Theodore’s job is fascinating and a comment on society. He works for a company that writes letters for other people (presumably without one person knowing). So while he feels connections to all these strangers, he feels a great disconnect to his own feelings. The idea that you would get a stranger to write important letters to someone you care about not just once but for years is both disturbing and very interesting. The idea that we are unable to express our feelings and need a stranger to do it properly and that this would become accepted in society is rather depressing (and unrealistic).

Theodore acts like a regular guy would, he’s curious about his OS, makes mistakes and doesn’t realize at first what a complete person she is. As time goes by (and he goes on a very disastrous blind date) he starts to develop feelings for Samantha. They have cyber/phone sex (which thankfully doesn’t involve seeing Joaquin Phoenix naked) and he is in a relationship with her.

She acts like many other girlfriends, excepts she’s not there physically. To go on means…

SPOILER ALERT!

So one of the really interesting scenes in the movie is what Samantha suggests they use a surrogate to have sex. Meaning that one of the real physical people (in this case the woman), wears a camera and takes cues from Samantha as her and Theodore have sex. Of course Theodore can’t quite do it and the woman leaves. The point of the scene is not just what an amazing girlfriend Samantha is but what it says about our sexuality. Right now I’m sure there are lots of men and women who have sex and spend the whole time fantasizing about someone else. This movie just takes that idea to the next step, our imagination and kinks are so tied into sex I think combining them is often essential for many people.

As time goes by Theodore begins to find it hard to have a virtual girlfriend, society and people who knows puts doubts in his head. Samantha seems to pick up on these doubts and admits to "cheating" on him with many other OS (and possibly other real people, though this isn’t stated). She comes to realize that since Theodore is mortal and will die (and they can never be together physically) she wants to leave him and explore her life with other OS systems and reach her greatest potential.

Final Thoughts:

I could go on and on with about this movie and what I enjoyed but I will point out some flaws. At a full two hours I have to admit there were several places in the movie I thought it dragged. They didn’t need to have 15 minutes of Theodore lazing around his apartment or staring out at the city. I know he leads and isolated life and we are supposed to feel it but it does get depressing after a while. Also the notion that a company could exist and write letters for other people doesn’t make much sense. It would be too easy to discover this fact and the cards/letters would lose all meaning. In fact Theodore has letters he has done over the years published, so at least THOSE people certainly know they’ve been lied to. Also I really would have liked an explanation on this massive plane statue. Theodore leans against it in one scene but there’s no sign and no one ever talks about it.

This movie really makes you think about what it means to be in a relationship and to be alone. If you had someone to talk to all the time (with a computer or just someone who was always available) would you need to physically be with them? How important is touching, sex and physical comfort? If you never meet a person (as I know happens now all the time) and carry on a relationship is it real? Is is fulling? Most of these questions are never answered in the movie. I think ultimately though Theodore is learning from his failed relationships, he’s learning more about himself and learning how to connect with other people more effectively. Perhaps in the end this movie just says that no matter what relationship you are in as long as you learn and grow as a person then it was worthwhile.

I know that was a very lengthy review but it was a fascinating movie that was already won a Golden Globe and will hopefully win at least one Oscar. I give it a strong 8/10 and a big recommendation. All the acting is excellent, the story is well done and it will make you think. There is sexual language and this is certainly not a movie for children. Well that’s it for me for now, have a great morning/afternoon/evening everyone and I’ll talk to you soon.

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