Her (2013)

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This unique love story written and directed by Spike Jonze is a kooky mixture of ideas swirled in a futuristic boiling pot and left to simmer in our imaginations. Cauldron analogy aside, ‘Her’ is a brilliant example of how romance stories in movies don’t have to be cliche.

The cinematography is gorgeous, the story is strange and utterly compelling, Phoenix plays the alone and antisocial guy well coping with the aftermath of a broken relationship, he works hard and well as a gifted poetic man and this side comes to the fore in his expressions and how he speaks to the new woman (or tech) in his life. It’s a dark tale based on the growing reliance on technology and it has comedic moments too which is always good.

Scarlett Johansson who is the disembodied Samantha is perfect casting and even though she is just a speaking role, her voice over is mesmerizing and it feels like it’s in your head too. It’s sexy and husky like always but she and Phoenix have conversations that make you smile and ones that make you think. It’s seriously a clever movie in making you question the idea of computer compatibility as a partner and without spoiling anything the end is sad, sweet and poignant and works well.

Credit also to Amy Adams who plays the helpful friend/friend in need, Rooney Mara also, who appears now and then as beneficial backstory in filling out Theodore’s character arc. There are a few moments that feel stretched, some aspects were perhaps too slow but all in all it’s a beautiful film filled with beautiful women, shots and ideas and Phoenix runs, skips and progresses throughout this futuristic world with sublime conviction. Spike Jonze has not only created a new spin on relationship dramas but he’s also penned a character name that is just brilliantly stupid and that deserves a point in itself. Theodore Twombly….genius.

8.5/10

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