Her review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Director Spike Jonze has crafted stories with some of the strangest concepts imaginable and yet his recent tale is one that is maybe a little bit close then some people might imagine. However Jonze crafts this around a very real need for intimacy that is heart warming but at its core a little bit corrupted by the subject matter.
Her follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a letter writer who writes couples letters to one another. He is desperately alone except for one friend, Amy (Amy Adams). When he buys a new operating system he doesn’t realise that she is an artificial intelligence and when Theodore and Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), his new OS meet they hit it off from the start. However the relationship has some inherent problems along the way.
The lack of connection in Her is astounding as people act naturally but also revel in isolation as if some kind of abject punishment for past events. For Theodore its his marriage to his soon to be ex wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), an opinionated and manipulative force that Theodore created as he sees it. His ideas about relationships and love are twisted.
Phoenix is perfect as Theodore, he gets to the core of this quiet soul and brings him back to life with the help of an equally impressive voice performance by Johansson as the inquisitive and loving Samantha. They honestly make a good couple, a dysfunctional and slightly unconventional one but a couple none the less.
However there lies the inherent flaw in Her, it never really presents anything to fight for because we don’t understand. Sure the idea of falling in love with a consumer item can happen momentarily (I remember the pleasures of a new game on the N64) but this kind of devotion is beyond comprehension for some and it makes what could be a touching relationship slightly cold and distant, undermining Jonze and the beautifully designed and shot film he has created.