Spike Jonze’s Her tells the bizarre tale of a recently divorced man who falls in love with a computer operating system. Set in an undisclosed year in the near future, LA is full of high waistband, hipster-like citizens and technology has become a major part of their lives.
It’s strange to think society could be any more reliant on technology than ours but Her manages to create a futuristic and almost alien environment without really changing much. There are a few changes in people’s fashion and gadgets look retro with wood panels on computers. These subtle set pieces build up a great setting for this movie. The story is a very straight-forward and easy to follow, there are so many ways a plot like this could have went but keeping it as simple as possible means Her is a delightful little story that is strengthened by the performances and the world created around it.
Joaquin Phoenix manages to portray a geeky, socially awkward person who would be the type of person to date a computer. However, he manages to do this without being too stereotypical or offensive. Amy Adams doesn’t have a lot of scenes but she gives a great performance and is an example of the type of person Theodore is friends with. It’s difficult to rate a voice performance but Scarlett Johansson’s work here is great. The whole point of Samantha is to seem like a real person who grew and formed new thoughts so it was vital to find someone who could emote properly and she genuinely does make the operating system seem like girlfriend material.
A lot of the scenes look like they were shot in some sort of art exhibit; the world-building techniques used here really work and benefit the film. Even the way the people behave; none of the women wear eyeliner, everyone’s name is pronounced in full (Theodore isn’t Teddy, Charles isn’t Charlie, Samantha isn’t Sam), and nearly everyone Theodore encounters is totally fine with the fact he is dating his operating system. It is in fact revealed that a lot of people are doing this – suggesting that society will become a bit too reliant on technology. This future seems realistic in the sense that all it would take for the world to really become like this is for Apple to take over the world. Everything is filmed and shot like a glossy and clean iPod advert.Overall, Her is a triumph because it tells a unique story in the simplest way possible, still showing signs of intelligence but without making the plot unnecessarily complicated. The performances are great, the unity in the tone of this film is flawless and there are no let downs. It is a very nice, funny and intriguing film that is light hearted but also topical.