Theodore: “Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”
A lonely writer falls in love with his newly installed, artificially intelligent, operating system (OS) on his computer. That’s the gist of ‘Her’, and it’s hard to explain how romantic the film is to someone if they haven’t seen it.
Premiering at the New York Film Festival late last year, Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore and Scarlet Johansson as the voice of Samantha, the OS. Samantha is not a ‘robotic’ form of artificial life with no personality – essentially, the film treats Samantha as if she is a real, albeit highly intelligent, person sans a physical body.
Named the Best Film of 2013 at the National Board of Review Awards, nominated for three Golden Globes, winning one for Best Screenplay, and currently nominated for five Academy Awards, there is a lot of hype surrounding this film that seems rather simple on the surface.
Her raises many questions about something that could be a very real possibility in the future. Although Theodore is the main character in the film, Samantha is the star. She openly ponders questions and fears regarding not having a physical body; never having to die; and is such a likeable character. Designed only to assist Theodore with tasks like sorting his e-mails and keeping his appointments, he and Samantha gradually develop romantic feelings for one another and begin a relationship. All whilst she can simultaneously hold conversations with thousands of other highly intelligent OS’s that exist. So many issues are explored throughout the film – the couple even hires a third woman at one point to become the physical body of ‘Samantha’; wearing an ear-piece and acting out every command she gives.
There are sprinkles of top-notch comedy throughout the film, though at its heart it is a romance through and through. Her is a fascinating piece of cinema that really makes you think about the technological strides we are constantly taking – that being said, one viewing is enough. It’s difficult to say if the film deserves all the hype it is being given by mainstream media – it is undoubtedly a fantastic love story, but when you’ve seen it once I don’t see anyone wanting to sit down and go through it again.
The High Points:
- Scarlet Johansson’s flawless performance as Samantha
- An impressive script that makes the characters feel real
- Fascinating premise
The Low Points:
- The film can feel like it drags on at times, particularly in the middle
- One viewing is enough
Film Score: 75%