Joaquin Phoenix stars in the 2013 quirky futuristic film, Her, by Spike Jonze. Computers have reached a level of sophistication whereby artificial intelligence in the form of a special operating system (OS) can be purchased by lonely humans as a sort of companion and organizer of their life.
Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely man going through a divorce from Catherine (Rooney Mara). He has a job as a letter writer for those who apparently cannot write. Scary future if people have mostly lost the capability to write for themselves, and scarier still that there are signs of that almost everywhere these days (but not in Blogging A to Z!). Theodore puts his innermost thoughts and feelings directly into the personal letters he writes for his clients.
Scarlett Johansson is the voice of Samantha, the OS who organizes Theodore’s life. She is never seen obviously, but plays an important role for Theodore, who is coping with the grief from his separation and trouble in love. He soon becomes infatuated with Samantha, and they are nearly inseparable.
A good friend from college days, Amy (Amy Adams), is a confidant for Theodore, one of the few real people he seems to connect with. Everyone in this film seems to be having trouble with relationships, including Amy. No wonder; they’re all walking around talking into space, kind of like having a blue tooth, and seldom interact with each other.
Cyber sex (Kristin Wiig in a hilarious turn as the voice of SexyKitten) and surrogate sex so that Samantha can have sex with Theodore, provide some really hilarious moments. Basically, this is about a society where no one knows how to have a truly satisfying intimate relationship anymore. Theodore has a blind date (Olivia Wilde) that doesn’t go anywhere either.
The film is rated R for language, sexual content, and brief graphic nudity. It takes place in a Los Angeles of the future, looking mysteriously like the well-populated skyline of Singapore, where it was filmed, along with some filming taking place in LA.
I like Her. Joaquin Phoenix really has to carry the whole film and his expressive face is in virtually every scene. I also enjoyed the sparse costuming, a future world where men don’t wear belts anymore, just those tight slacks.
I agree with the Academy awarding the Best Original Screenplay to Her and Spike Jonze. The writing is terrific, great dialogue (in fact this is one of the films I’ve seen where there is almost constant dialogue), and really quite thoughtful conversations between the characters, whether they are another human or an OS.
Are we as a world heading this way? You’d think so watching people walking down the street like they do in this film, not really seeing what’s around them, all focused on their devices. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be film as prophecy, and we all succumb to the addictive draw into our computers, telephones, and whatever other electronic device is next available on the market.