“Her” is shot in a sunny shade of Instagram, a color that is both clear and vague at the exact same time. It is a hue that seems perfect for a movie that involves clarity and a certain level of vagueness– such being present in the relationship between Theo Twombley (an oddly handsome Joaquin Phoenix) and his OS, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johanssen).
The film is not a perfect exploration of communication, but does a formidable job of making us want to explore interaction ourselves. Its theme is particularly relevant, especially at a time when the internet has changed the way we communicate with one another. Physical interaction is somewhat emphasized in the movie, as seen in Samantha’s desire to inhabit a physical form. Informing the reader of Samantha’s subsequent decision with regards to form would spoil the plot. Instead, this writer would like to take the time to explore the human characters in the film.
Phoenix is a brilliant misfit. Not too handsome, yet not too dull… he’s a likable everyman. The mustache is an odd, yet charming touch to his writer facade. Rooney Mara is his feisty yet forgettable bride, whose brief appearance serves its purpose to move the story on. Olivia Wilde seems miscast as the smart yet slutty blind date, an even more brief part that was relatively okay in itself. A barefaced Amy Adams makes a 360 degree turn, saying goodbye to cleavage and pompous seventies hair in American Hustle for a role as Theo’s friend Amy. Adams is a less demanding presence, but a stronger supporting act– a hallmark of majority of her work.
The film’s real star is Johanssen, whose presence is so radiant even without her famed cleavage it seems a total injustice that she wasn’t honored during awards season with any nomination. How could the film academy not consider an actor’s ability to evoke emotion with their voices alone a feat worthy of recognition? Sad.
“Her” has no intentions of preaching anything towards its viewers. Instead, it tells a relevant story and leaves the ending rather open, implying no obvious conclusion for Theo. All it does is show, and it does so rather powerfully– presenting viewers with a story they realize is no one else’s but their own. Jonze’s ability to present the intricacies of human interaction and encourage reflection is brilliant. His Oscar for Original Screenplay was well deserved: besides creating a relevant plot, Jonze’s direction proved to make the story come alive beautifully onscreen.
“Her” is a gem of a film. It may not be the most brilliant, but it is a film worth watching. For some, it may open eyes and make us think twice about how we communicate with one another. For others, it may simply warm hearts and remind us about the things that truly make the world beautiful: each other.