Through an unconventional love story bolstered by great performances set in a modest but wonderfully rendered world, Her is a witty and bittersweet film that explores connections in a future that’s not too far from the present.
Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, Her follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. [Warner Bros.]
The film provides insights through an unconventional love story that isn’t too far fetched, with problems that are not too different from normal relationships.
Virtual-reality girlfriends already exist in Japan, so it’s not entirely impossible to have a future with technologically-driven relationships. Her successfully fleshed out this kind of relationship that has recognizable hurdles. Apart from the obvious disadvantages, both Theodore and Samantha evolved as their needs changed.
Great performances from the cast make the characters endearing and the dynamic believable. Joaquin Phoenix portrays a nuanced opposite of his role in The Master, Scarlett Johansson’s husky voice is on point, Amy Adams keeps the story grounded, and Rooney Mara manages to make a huge impact even with just one key scene.
The film pokes fun at the ridiculousness of its own premise from time to time, from a botched ménage à trois to quips like, “We haven’t had sex lately,” Samantha laments. “And I don’t have a body.”
Unlike most sci-fi films, Her is a modestly embellished world of the present, with muted colors, dreamy afternoons, and somber evenings. This mirrors the melancholic nature of Theodore, whose technology aided social isolation is not uncommon today. The film looks ordinary yet new, a world in a not too distant future that feels familiar.
The film trips on the ending, where it becomes a tad too self-conscious and bails out with a contrived twist to the proceedings before the love story lands on familiar rom com territory.
Other than that, Her is both an endearing love story and an effective satire of our technology-driven connections. The ending is ambiguous but if you consider the parallels, it makes thought provoking questions.
In the digital age where social media platforms enable us to live idealized lives behind perfectly curated pictures and make instant connections without the challenges of real relationships, will we still be able to make lasting connections with human beings in the physical world? or are we going to be contented in our own virtual universe?
Fortunately overall, the film still posits that love is not obsolete even in a time where technology can substitute humans with an idealized sidekick.
My Rating: 9/10
Alternative Movie Poster by Gian Bautista