Saturday, January 11, 2014

Her, a Movie Review

Working with IT for the past 3 or 4 years, I often hear folks say they have a love hate relationship with their computers or their software or an operating system. But the film Her elevated a love relationship with your OS (operating system) to a new level. Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) is a socially awkward writer at the end of his marriage with an almost unrecognizable Roony Mara (as in signing the divorce papers end). He feels much more comfortable in the world of his video games.  Things get interesting when he purchases a  new OS designed to intuitively adapt and evolve to the person operating the laptop so as to become more integrated into their life. The OS takes on a persona of a female human named Samatha (with the voice of Scarlett Johansson  - no less). Theodore finds he is falling in love with his OS and they develop a relationship.

Since Theodore is socially awkward, "dating" an OS that is two steps ahead of his thoughts suits him very well. However, things get a little interesting when Samantha decides to bring a surrogate in to make the relationship physical. Eventually, in the story the audience suspends belief and forgets that Samantha is nothing but the voice coming from speaker. 

Amy Adams plays the part of  Theodore's friend Amy who confides in him that she has developed a bond with the OS on her estranged husband's computer. Yes, there are more of the OS's about.

"Her" has been nominated and won several awards already for "Best Film" and "Best Screen Play" in some of the critical award ceremonies already held. It is touted to be one of this year (as in the 2013 award year's) big films. 

While Phoenix carries 98% of the scenes and gives a strong performances, personally, IMHO, it is Johansson who deserves a Best Actress Award for her role as Samantha. She is the story, the glue, she is what drives Phoenix. Does the Academy give a Best Actress Award for a part that was only a voice? I see that she has already garnered 5 Best Supporting Actress Nominations by other Film Critic Awards and was given a "Special Honorary Award" by the Austin Film Critics Association for "Her Outstanding Voice Performance in 'Her'". The Academy should take note.

This is an interesting film and I think Spike Jonze did an excellent job with the screenplay. That said, I tired of it. 126 minutes is a long amount of time to watch Theodore romance his earpiece. I do not see this as Best Film of the Year. However, given the Academy has widened the field to 10 nominations, there may be room in the race. After all Hollywood loves Joaquin. 

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