Nowadays, the world is connected through modern technology.Â Social media, video chats and even texting are just a few of the mostly used methods of communication as it seems simpler to touch a few buttons rather than connect to someone in person. But quirky director Spike Jonze takes a bold step in his first directorial feature without the weird skills of his screenwriting collaborator Charlie Kaufman, and challenges the emotions of a relationship based on technology.
Based in an uncertain future, Her tells the story of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a depressed correspondence writer who creates letters and is on the verge of divorce from the assertive Catherine (Rooney Mara). Â Besides his neighbours Amy and Charles (Amy Adams and Matt Letscher respectively), he keeps himself to himself but on a whim, he buys a new artificial intelligent operating system, which calls itself Samantha (Scarlett Johansson).Â Theodore soon starts to develop a relationship with Samantha that becomes incomparable to everything – and anyone – else.
Jonzeâs artistic detachment from Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, may have been a slight risk but in his first solo effort, he highlights a very modern problem in amidst a stylish, sun-kissed eden.Â In the film, people send letters that are written by a company and singletons prefer the company of a machine – in its own way, the fact that our connections are becoming emotionless each day is a scary thought, yet Jonze manages to weave the heart and soul of his story into an unorthodox relationship without being over-sentimental in his script.
Even though Her follows the footsteps of Lars and the Real Girl and Ruby Sparks that the idea of a man and a non-human entity can have a relationship, something about Spike Jonzeâs feature delves a little deeper than the idea of being it taboo – doe-eyed Phoenix and the sultry-voiced Johansson play the couple with subtlety and their genuine connection resonates on an emotional level, laced with the same ups and downs of any normal relationship. Â Mara and Adams are slightly underused in their supporting roles, but their characters compliment each other nicely and are not overemphasised as Theodoreâs âother womenâ.
Overall, Her is a beautiful film – wonderful acting, great story and dreamy soundtrack. Â Miss it and you’ll miss out.
Her is out in UK cinemas on 14th February Â 2014.
Director: Spike Jonze
Writer: Spike Jonze
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
Runtime: 120 min