I Saw A Film Today… Her

her-veronavarroWhy do I love movies? It is something I know but can’t explain. It is something that is constantly evolving and morphing in definition. A good film will transform you I believe, make you a more whole person or give you a new outlook on the purpose of life. You have to experience them completely the way the filmmaker intended you to. You have to blindly jump head first into the unknown abyssal beginning and let it encompass your whole being for two hours until the credits roll.

Maybe that makes me odd, that films affect me and shape me like that. I can see the glazing eyes and draining interest when trying to talk to a “normal” person about some symbolism or interpretation in something I recently saw. It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing mostly, but what parts of anyone’s life are not really?

I guess to tie this up neatly, we all have personal philosophies. For some it comes from a singular source. Some many. Some well founded. Many dangerous. But they are our philosophies. They are why we live, why we love, why we hate, why we lift ourselves up in the morning.  Mine happens to be movies. I live for movies. And I live for movies like Her.

In a slightly distant future Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly (joaquin Phoenix) makes his living writing personal letters for people who have trouble articulating emotions. Outside of his job, Theodore is an introverted man still having trouble getting over the split from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara).

Looking for something that will lift him from his slump, Theodore get an OS- an artificially intelligent operating system. His system is named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and they both quickly fall in love with each other.

The idea to make a film of a man falling in love with, basically, a phone app is quite a bold concept. But I was admittedly puzzled when talking with many people before it came out. They scoffed at that concept, someone falling in love with technology. But it’s not really all that strange if you think about it. Think of that one person you know who constantly is buried in a smart phone or tablet- is it so implausible that a human could fall in love with technology in an intimate way?

What really made this madly enjoyable film work is that director Spike Jonze simultaneously makes you recognize the hurdles of loving an artificial life and making you forget that Samantha is artificial at all. She is as real to the audience as she is to Theodore. The nakedness of sharing. The joy of a kiss. The electricity of the first time skin touches skin. The insecurity of staleness. The sadness of distance. The abandoned tundra of loss. Jonze breathes a quirk and irresistible smile or frown into these facets of the life experiment of love.

The cast of this film, which if broken down into a pie chart, the majority of the circle would be Joaquin Phoenix. A smaller portion would be Scarlett Johansson’s voice. And an even smaller portion would be miscellaneous other fair-skinned people (you’d really think there would be less white people, eh?) such as brilliant ladies Rooney Mara and Amy Adams. The chemistry between Phoenix and Johansson, as previously mentioned, is the magic of the film. Phoenix has now fully stepped out of the madness of the I’m Still Here era of his career, which is nice to see honestly.

Her is a truly great love film, one that reminds of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, and just as good.

Verdict: See it!

*Rated R/UK:15 for language, sexual content, and brief graphic nudity. 126 minutes. Directed by Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich).

** Poster by Vero Navarro (unconfirmed).

*** Thanks to my friend Cody for screening this with me.

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5 Responses to “I Saw A Film Today… Her”

  1. Joanne P. Foster Says:

    Once again…I love the way you express yourself in words.

  2. Good review Kev. Loved just about everything about this movie, and makes me wonder why Jonze doesn’t make more movies. I guess it’s too cobble-up more and more ideas for whatever masterpiece he wants to create next, but the wait is almost always too long! More Jonze!

    • Kevin Entrekin Says:

      I like that Jonze doesn’t continually churn out flicks all the time, like Woody Allen or even Martin Scorsese, for example. Both are brilliant, but they also have a fair amount of fails as well. Guy cares a lot about his craft and it really shows when he makes a film.

      • Yeah, that’s the other argument to be made as well. I’m glad he takes up so much time in between movies, because I appreciate his movies so much more.

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