Charming, intelligent, thought provoking film about love between a man and his computer operating system, set in the near future when the first truly conscious, independently thinking, computer operating systems are launched onto the market.
Raises many questions that we may well have to confront within some of our lifetimes, such as how a relationship between a conscious, thinking computer and a human being could work, given the vastly different speeds at which they could think and communicate.
The man is played by the very able and versatile actor Joaquin Phoenix, here seen with a moustache, so not immediately recognisable as the same person who played the very different characters of the Emperor Commodus in ‘Gladiator’ or Country & Western singer Johnny Cash in ‘Walk the Line’.
Officially, second billing on the cast list is given to Amy Adams (also hard to recognise from some of her previous roles, having blonde hair here), an actress whom I like and who is fine here, although this is not her best ever performance.
However, the real star and the heart of the film, who surely should have had an Oscar for this, is not seen on screen at all (nor, sadly, in the mostly slightly disappointing DVD extras). It is Scarlett Johansson, who voices the computer in a way that is charming and (at least to me) quite believable that someone might fall in love with, even if the relationship could not be consummated in a conventional sense.
I cannot say too much about the plot without giving things away, except that there are several twists and surprises towards the end, but this is a really good film, and stands up to viewing again.
Brilliant performance by Joaquin Phoenix in a part I could have imagined the late Robin Williams slotting into. It is a seriously interesting film, at times quite funny and especially when Samantha the 'OS' (his digital girlfriend) wants to inhabit a body and they hire a female to act out her part. The whole scenario can be so easily imagined as being not too far down the AI reality zone from where we are now and it is likely to be the next step, give it maybe 10 years or so. Already so many are deeply immersed in lives that are hugely digital and 'artificial' so this is not at all difficult to perceive. It is very easy to picture Twombly's life as perverse and weird but people have become embroiled in fantasies for the good and the bad ever since the human mind developed and this is in so many ways just another one of them. I enjoyed the film even though it took maybe 25 minutes to really grip me and I could easily watch it again sometime.
Set in the not too distant future, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix, well known for Brother Bear) is a lonely writer looking for love. He's been through a divorce with his wife, Catherine (Rooney Mara, well known for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and things have been becoming worse. Theodore is becoming more isolated day after day, nobody to turn to. After seeing an advertising campaign, Theodore decided to buy a ground-breaking operating system - here we meet Samantha (Scarlett Johansson, well known for Lucy), the voice-only technological assistant who has a very different way of looking at the world. He quickly bonds with this OS as it slowly starts to shape his life and who he is today...
Please note: Whilst watching the movie, I cried. I've never cried in a movie ever before, the screenplay and dialogue are truly phenomenal - this film deserves way more recognition and awards than it got. I would recommend anyone to go and see this and I hope you feel the same way I did after the movie, speechless (I even clapped at my TV because I thought it was that good.).
Overall Rating 9.5/10. Here's why?
+Great Screenplay +They've defined the next generation of SF movies +Joaquin Phoenix definitely stands out in this movie -Not for everyone. But for me, this is jaw-dropping.
Her is a film about what the future might hold in a dystopian society. The eponymous Her is a computer generated voice and construct who is in the computer operating system. A bit like a personal assistant/organiser/confidant whom the owner falls in love with. He treats her like a real person and relies on her so much so he hires a "body" to be a conduit for her voice and they go on a date. The film explores how far someone will go into virtual reality whilst losing contact with actual reality and unrequited love as obviously Her doesn't have feelings and can't reciprocate. An interesting film however I found it hard to care about the characters.
This is a movie much better than it ought to be. It is a male movie. The alter ego is suitably massaged. The unreality of the story duly rationalised.
Every woman is a network. As a man this has been my perspective ever since I began to mature. Remove the body from the woman and all you have left is the emotional support systems. And the jokes.
So insert the bodyless woman into a computer operating system complete with all knowledge of everything and see what you get. Played. It's not just the body that plays you. It's your package. The package that is you. Did he stand a chance?
It is a long way from being some kind of freak show. Intellectually stimulating even if it does fall short of taking the human element to where it could be bound. As well as the implications concerning 'real' human intercourse and, well, this kind of conversation between strangers and who knows who else, there is the analysis of just what a 'relationship' is. As a man not capable of a relationship with a woman (head injury) I found the movie to be supportive of the 'be real' approach to living. Take Her out and see for yourself.