Film Review – Her (2013)

Her - post

Title: Her (2013)

Director: Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, (Voice of) Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara

Plot: Still reeling from a marriage break up with lifelong love Catherine (Mara) depressed letter writer Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) begins a relationship with his computers O.S, a girl named Samantha (voice of Johansson).

“Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s like a socially acceptable form of insanity”

Review by Eddie on 20/01/2014

It’s highly unlikely you have seen or will ever see again a romantic dramedy in the vain of Her, for Spike Jonze’s film is a highly original, meditative and strangely beautiful tale of love and life and a movie that on paper should never have worked but thankfully due to a witty and believable script and two award worthy performances (one that isn’t even on screen) is a movie that is in a league of it’s own.

It’s a rare thing for a movie to feel so raw and true, especially a movie that is positioned around a relationship between a depressive divorcee and his romantic relationship with his new Operating System (O.S). In this relationship Spike Jonze has dug out one of Joaquin Phoenix’s best on screen performances and in any other year could be vying for a well deserved Oscar. Phoenix’s expresses a range of emotions that build an audience affection for Theo that with any lesser actor could of been a feat that would’ve not been achieved. Theo as a one man show though is nothing without his offsider, a voice in his and the audiences ear yet a voice that displays humanity that allows us to forget Samantha is not actually here with us, and for this all credit must go to Scarlett Johansson.

Originally filmed with Samantha Morton’s voice Jonze re-casted Samantha with Johansson and with that choice has made the movie a tale brimming with life and delivered one of the best ever voice roles displayed in a movie. Every feeling that Samantha feels, every bit of laughter and anguish is perfectly pitched by Johansson and therefore acts as a career peak of the leading lady and again a performance that deserves awards. It’s such a feat by the cast and those behind the scenes to bring Her to life in the way in which it does, from the music by Arcade Fire, the stunning cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema and again back to Jonze’s original and thoughtful script every element of Her feels just about perfect with only slight pacing issues and some perhaps filler scenes stopping Her from being a flawless love tale.

Filled with Jonze’s usual unique sense of humor and oddness, Her is not for everybody, but for those willing to be a part of a love story like no other it’s a breath of fresh air and a movie impossible not to come out smiling from. After the misfire that was Where the Wild Things Are, Her finds Jonze fantastically back on form and a story that provides a love tale for the modern day us, a people more and more likely turning to technology to find meanings within ourselves and love we have yet to find in the real world.

4 and a half high riding trouser pants out of 5

52 responses to “Film Review – Her (2013)

  1. Happy you appreciate “Her”…both it and “Where the WIld Things Are” we’re my favorites of their respective years. So, the only other thing I’ll add is…Spike didn’t have to “come back” after anything! Both films are brilliant. ML

    • I sadly could not get into Where the Wild Things are Mr. Leonard but Her was an absolute joy. I reckon Spike would of loved no studio interference in her that plagued his WTWTA production.
      Eddie

  2. I truly did adore this movie, and for many reasons. The main one being that Jonze actually had me believe that any kind of relationship could actually happen between this guy and his operating system. And from there, Jonze just lets loose and never looks back for a second. Good review Eddie.

  3. I… love… this… movie! It’s a perfect satire of our day and age, yet instead of highlighting the absurdity of a man dating his computer’s operating system, Jonze goes in the opposite direction, allowing the romance to be pure (at first), and ring true (right up to the end).
    BTW… I have to disagree about Where the Wild Things Are. I thought it was kind of inspired. It is not a children’s movie, it’s a film for adults about childhood. I loved Sendak’s picture book when I was a little kid… it spoke to me. And there was something strange and wonderful about entering a movie theater decades later, only to see a film version that spoke to me again, but this time as a grownup. I felt like the story was following me, adapting to me as I changed.

      • At least it got nominated. Tom Hanks was snubbed completely, and his performance in Captain Philips is one of the best of his career. As I often point out, Dr. Strangelove lost the Oscar to My Fair Lady back in the day. My Fair Lady is a wonderful old-school musical, one of the best of the genre, but Dr. Strangelove is a nearly unparalleled work of cinematic genius on every level, from the script to the direction to the performances. When it comes to gauging a film’s quality, the Oscars don’t matter, and neither does the film’s initial box office performance. The only true litmus test is the film’s longevity, its continued relevance over time.

      • So well put mate and in regards to Hanks in Phillips totally agree I was blown away by his performance and even in such a quality year he was amongst the best.
        Eddie

  4. Great review. I completely agree about the film being wholly original. I knew very little about the plot when I watched it, and I was in love with the idea of a this romance set in the future. With most science fiction movies (I think this counts as one), the filmmaker is practically obligated to include some hover cars, laser guns, and robots.

    I thought this movie was genius for defying expectation. I also liked the little touches like when you see things from Joaquin Phoenix’s perspective, where he just stares off into nothing or watches the dust particles float above the blanket. I was going to write a review about it, but I couldn’t think of a way to describe it properly. This does the film enough justice and saves me the difficulty of trying to explain it. : )

    • Cheers buddy, it was one of those films I could of kept writing about but in the end all anyone needs to know is this idea that Jonze has is just perfectly realised in this picture.
      Eddie

  5. Great Film. I did thing it was slow at times though, which is why I would only give it a 8/10. The acting was magnificent. Pheonix was amazing as usual but what really surprised was the excellent supporting acting from Amy Adams. Some of her monologues really helped pull a lot of the loose strings of the movie together. I’m a huge fan of Spike Jonze, the dude can make kids picture books into oscar nominated films! Totally loved the emotional rollercoaster, wasn’t totally pleased with the ending, and was a little slow in the middle in my opinion but none the less. Top Notch Oscar Contending Film!

    • Agreed on the pace it really was the only thing that held it back from being a pretty flawless picture for what it is. A short trimming of around 10 – 15 minutes could of made the structure of the whole thing that much more enjoyable.
      Eddie

  6. I have a recommendation for you and the visitors of your site. A couple of years ago, Spike Jonze wrote and directed a half-hour long short called I’m Here—as a promotion for Absolut Vodka, of all things. It’s a love story between two robots living in Los Angeles, and it’s an oblique retelling of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. It’s unbelievably moving, and it would be a crime for anyone who enjoyed Her to miss out on it. Check it out—it’s one of the best things that Jonze has ever directed.

  7. Great to see it won you over as well my friend, this was, in a nutshell, the reason I love goign to see films. It ‘wow’ed me like few have this (last) year.

  8. Great review. It sounded a very unusual premise that could go either way but now I definitely want to check it out.

  9. Hey, cool review Eddie! I promise I didn’t intentionally steal your quote from Amy Adams’ character, it was too good!

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  11. Hey guys – thanks for the fine review. I had not wanted to see this film, and it took a lot of convincing arguments from one side of my brain to the other. So Ultimately I did see it. And reviewed it. But that’s not what I wanted to share.

    Upon exiting the theater and driving home, I happened to have the NPR (National Public Radio) station on. The show is called Fresh Air and the guest that came on was none other than Joaquin Phoenix. Talk about coincidence or kismet or fate.

    Any way – here is the link to the web page for this particular show that shall enable you to hear JP discuss the film. Enjoy.

    http://www.npr.org/2014/01/25/265354833/fresh-air-weekend-joaquin-phoenix-and-a-self-help-skeptic

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