This post is in no means a form of undermining Drew’s review of the movie. I just have a lot to say on the matter.
I said to myself if there was any movie that was going to top The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) for me, it’d be Spike Jonze’s Her (2013)… And I was right. The only thing is I did not expect it to make the impact it did on me, and hopefully the world.
If you read Drew’s review of Her, then you already know the storyline of the movie, and if you haven’t you can read it here. To the naked eye, Her seems to be only a love story about a man who is broken from a recent marriage and he finds solace in the voice of an operating system (Voiced STUPENDOUSLY by Scarlett Johansson, I might add); but underneath this story there are messages. Not only messages to us, the audience, but messages to society and the day and age we live in, now.
Her touches up on the constant change in technology; day after day and year after year. There is no doubt in anyone’s minds that we are very dependent on technology these days. We see it more and more at home, on the streets, in the workplace, and on our person. This film acknowledges that with Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) constantly having his operating system, OS1, named Samantha (Johansson) always by his side. Theodore is going through a divorce and he feels more alone than ever. He thinks he will never be happy or love again. Theodore stays up at night thinking about his ex-wife (Rooney Mara). However Samantha seems to make this pain go away. She/it IS designed to meet his every need, and by doing so, he become attached to her/it. Wherever he goes, she/it is with him. HE IS MADLY DEPENDENT ON SAMANTHA AND IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT SEEMS TO GIVE HIM HAPPINESS. This plays into both the love story and the underlying themes of the film here. We DO feel for Theodore and the fact that he has found love in something that isn’t real, as opposed to a real person. I know I do! However what’s behind the curtain here is the fact that he loves this piece of technology more than something physically in front of him and physically engaging with him.
Like most technology it becomes more and more popular to society and more and more people start to purchase it and integrate it into their lives. We see this more often than not in Her as Theodore’s friend, Amy (Played by Amy Adams), purchases an OS1. One scene in the movie that really hit me was when Theodore took a moment to look around him, probably for the first time in this movie he picked his head up, and see so many people attached to their phones and OSes, so dependent on them just as he is. Are we, as a society headed in this direction? If so, what does it mean for us? For our future relationships and love lives?
The whole, “Artificial intelligence,” ordeal and these systems having personalities and feelings really reminded me of movies like Blade Runner (1982) and The Matrix (1999). However the difference between these movies and Her is that those robots and AI are trying to be superior and believe in natural selection, and that they are the higher beings, destined to rule humanity yada yada yada. Whereas with Her, Samantha and the other Operating Systems are simply trying to be. Trying to be loving, trying to be fun, trying to be cute, trying to be NORMAL. It makes you wonder in this era of tech, do our phones and/or computers have these feelings? Does Siri love me, or my Xbox? Obviously not, if you look at it from a proper perspective; but whose to say we aren’t on the way to this kind of lifestyle?
I can’t talk about this film, though, without praising Phoenix for owning this role. There’s roles like Leonardo DiCaprio’s in The Wolf of Wall Street, which are very over the top, WHICH IS FINE if that’s what the role requires (Not to knock Leo off his high horse, he definitely killed it this year); but then there are roles like Phoenix’s. Just his eyes and posture, you feel everything he feels, you love everything he loves and you can’t help but tear up when he does. It’s just so subtle, and so REAL. Joaquin Phoenix really is an artist and a master of his craft. He deserves every bit of recognition he is getting for this movie and the movie itself deserves the recognition it’s getting.
I don’t know if this is a mean thing to say, but this is hands down Scarlett Johansson’s best role of her career. The reason I say I’m not sure if this is mean is because her presence is only in her voice and nothing else. Just unbelievable voice acting from Johansson, and it’s a shame she couldn’t see oscar love this season (The Academy had a debate as to whether or not she should be eligible and they voted no, unfortunately)
It also pains me that Her probably won’t take a Best Picture award home, this holiday season. I don’t know how the Academy works, but they almost never give “Indies style” dramas like this recognition. It should absolutely win Best Original Screenplay, however; and I’m pretty up in arms that Joaquin Phoenix didn’t get a nomination. Again, I don’t know how the Academy picks ’em. I know my friend Ryan is up in arms about Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) getting snubbed in nominations (his blog here).
Her really hit home for me in more than one place. The love story, the themes with technology and isolation, the messages it tried to send to audiences worldwide, etc. I think it is a period piece for my generation and worthy of a top 10 spot in my favorite films of all time. One of these days I’ll do a post on my top 10 favorite films.
Overall Rating for me: 9.5/10
See it. I think it’s important for my generation and even the one above me sees it.
IMAGES: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fXUlQ461fk4/UlnMuPP0cUI/AAAAAAAAAiM/kM4NAaq07to/s1600/HER-FP-0864.jpg, http://thecinemaguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/her-joaquin-phoenix-14.jpg