Film Review: Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ is Masterful Commentary on Connection

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

How do we connect with other people? Why do we often push away those we need and stay with those we don’t? Why do we hold on to relationships long after they have stopped working? Is a physical relationship with no intellectual or emotional component somehow more valuable than one that can never be person-to-person but engages on a deeper level? And how do the ways we deal with love and loss impact the way we look at the rest of the world? And why aren’t more movies as good as “Her”? Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

Not unlike the man who wrote this deeply-personal piece, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) makes a living crafting emotion for other people. In the near-future, he works at a company that writes letters for you. Can’t figure out how to say what you really feel to your wife on your 50th anniversary or your son on the day he graduates? Theodore will write the letter for you. And he’s damn good at what he does, making it clear that he’s an emotional fellow, the kind of guy who uses words and communication not purely functionally but on a deeper level.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Her” in our reviews section.

Theodore is also sad and lonely. He’s still holding on to a relationship (with Rooney Mara, who plays a creative artist who could be read as a fictional version of Sofia Coppola, to whom Jonze was married) that long ago lost its passion and having serious trouble meeting people. A good friend of his (played beautifully by Amy Adams) sets him up on a date with a gorgeous woman (Olivia Wilde) but Theodore doesn’t seem physically ready for the intimacy and it ends awkwardly.

Then he meets Samantha (Scarlett Johannson). Well, he “hears” Samantha, the voice of his new “Intuitive Operating System,” a Siri-esque technology in the future that doesn’t just tell you how to get to Chipotle. It grows, changes, and adapts to your needs and interests, while also containing more of an independent degree of personality than any actual iOS. Samantha becomes Theodore’s closest friend, someone who listens to him, challenges him, and actually grows with him. In a series of remarkably written exchanges that feel more truthful and emotional than most romantic dramas between two actual people, Theodore and Samantha fall in love.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Her” review.

“Her” stars Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johannson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. It was written and directed by Spike Jonze. It is now playing in some markets and opens in Chicago on Christmas Day. It is rated R.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

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