With a fresh, original story, a well-written screenplay and extraordinary performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. ‘Her’ is by far, not only one of the best films of 2013, it ranks as one of the best romantic films to have come in a long time and trust me, I am not a huge fan of those genres. This film is a reason why I love the Oscars, for if they had not given out the nominations for Best Picture a while back, I probably would not have even believed that this film even existed.
Plot: The film takes place in the not-so-distant future, where technology has reached new heights (we have all been there before). It is about a lonely man’s (Theodore) relationship with an operating system called Samantha which has Artificial Intelligence embedded in it and it can grow and learn as it progresses. The character’s grow and begin to realise that they have fallen in love with each other.
Now, for the two major questions,
What Didn’t Work?
- The Pacing: While watching this film, I found it’s pacing to be the only major flaw throughout the entire film. There are a few scenes which were unnecessarily focused on, such examples are a few conversations between Amy and Theodore. The pacing of this film is extremely slow. There might be some places where you feel restless, but I think Spike Jonze wants to capture the essence of each scene beautifully. Yes, there are few things this film does wrong, but there are so many things this film gets right
- The acting: The entire cast is supported by a well written screenplay, yes, but the acting is just as good. Joaquin Phoenix really outdoes himself here, his masterful performance was something that made me more enraged due to the fact that he was NOT nominated this year for the Academy Award for Best Actor. I felt that his presence was Theodore, a real character and not Phoenix himself and who wouldn’t forget the absolutely memorable voice of Scarlett Johansson as the wonderful O.S, Samantha, even though she doesn’t physically appear, this is by far her most memorable performance. The supporting cast which included Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde and Rooney Mara, did their parts well too.
- The Screenplay: My favourite aspect of this film, Spike Jonze gets the credit here (also the director). This is Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut, and not many hit the right mark. The dialogue written for the conversations between the characters of Theodore and Samantha are so well-written, it is written with enough dosages of comedy and heartbreak. There are so many positive adjectives I would be ready to steal from the Thesaurus and give to this screen play, because it is damn near perfect. The dialogue written below stood out as my favourite scene in the movie, given to Samantha.
Samantha: “It’s like I am writing a book, and it’s a book that I deeply love, but I’m writing it slowly now, so the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you, and the words of our story, but it’s in this endless space between these words that I am finding myself now. Where I am going, it’s a place that’s not up the physical world; it’s where everything else is that I didn’t even know existed. I love you so much, but this is where I am now and this is who I am now, I need you to let me go and as much as I want to, I can’t live in your book anymore”.
- The Originality: This movie is by far one of the most original and fresh movies I have seen in a very long time. It told us the story of two characters which I found very hard to believe at first, but as the story progressed, I felt for every character in this film, I felt like these characters were real and that reaction shocked me in a very phenomenal way. (Watching it, reminded me of watching “Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004)”, which I saw almost 2 years ago, a film also about romance, which told us a story taking place entirely in a person’s mind.)
- The Settings and Visuals: Spike Jonze uses the visuals and the setting of the film in a distant future as a simple backdrop which enhanced the film’s narrative beautifully. The visuals, even though it is a low budget film have also been executed beautifully.
- Character Development: The Character’s that we meet at the beginning of this movie develop so well by the end, you yourself feel that they have changed and so have you in a very strange way, I loved how they focused a lot on how these characters are so stuck and confused in the situations that they are in and how they come out of it. This is where many movies go wrong and this one got that right.
- The Soundtrack: The soundtrack of the film, composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet, who mainly use piano pieces for a large portion of the film are well done and are pleasing to the mind for they fit wonderfully in every situation.
- Themes: The film deals with themes regarding loyalty, love and heartbreak. These themes are discussed by the main characters and do remind us that we don’t need a male and female body to tell us where relationships can go.
- The Ending: It is not something I will spoil but I definitely will tell you that it is not a clichéd ending, where everyone is happy in the end, it ends on a high note with all loopholes filled with a positive note on modern human relationships.
Final note: With so many positive feelings this movie provides and the exceptionally few heart breaking ones, Her is one of the best films I have ever seen, it is a touching sci-fi romantic comedy drama (That’s a mouthful) that really left an impression on my heart and for the many romantic films that I know I will dislike, good luck with where you are going after you see this film. I hope you found this review helpful and like many who haven’t seen it, please do, I am going with a near-perfect 4.5 stars.
Final Rating: 4.5/5
Until the next blog