Her is absolutely wonderful. It’s a film that questions our very existence, who we are as people, what defines us and the complexity or lack thereof of human relationships and bonding. What’s truly amazing, is how simple, director Spike Jonze makes it look, there are layers upon layers to Her that could fill hours of discussion. One enlightened moment leads to another as the core pleasures we find in the company of others is stripped down to the very essence of humanity and what truly allows us to appreciate love and connect with someone else while also making a comment on our society on a whole.
Her centres on Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a custom greeting card writer who’s marriage has recently ended. Tormented by his loneliness, Theodore purchases an operating system that is tailored accordingly to his mindset and that comes with the voice of sexy, sultry ‘Samantha’ (Scarlett Johansson).
Despite the barriers existing between the two, Jonze makes Theo and Samantha’s relationship feel real and completely captivating. From the moment they were introduced to each other, their relationship evolved in a very natural fashion. Samantha too evolves and we the audience experience this growth every step of the way. We are hurt when her voice breaks in sadness, and we empathise with her frustrations as she deals with the pain of not knowing whether her feelings are programmed or real. The effortless dialogue between Samantha and Theodore exemplifies a naturalness that is recognisably human, and together they experience all the normal, boring parts of life as well as the parts they see through rose-coloured glasses (which is helped all the more with soft, sun-kissed and intimate cinematography from Hoyte Van Hoytema).
While Her is ultimately about the story of a man falling in love with an operating system, in the end it remains a film about human connection and love. With an exquisite lead performance by Joaquin Phoenix, equally fine work from Scarlet Johansson and Amy Adams and absolute peak filmmaking from Jonze, it truly is a masterpiece.
Heartfelt, captivating and poignant.