My favorite film this past year was Her, brought to us by visionary filmmaker Spike Jonze who you may know from Being John Malkovich. Her was hands down the most exhilarating eye-opening original film of the year. It takes place in an unknown distant future in an almost unrecognizable skyscraper-filled city of Los Angeles. Theordore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is a lonely writer who is battling a divorce and trying to find himself in the lost and lonely world created by technology. He’s introduced to Samantha, a new OS (Operating System), voiced by Scarlett Johansson, and soon forms a relationship with her. The viewer is taken through a whirl-wind journey as real life emotions are formed between human and artificial intelligence. Her takes a new yet simple look at what the future could hold for us.
I really enjoyed how it took place in an unknown future that wasn’t quite identified. We never know what year it is but can still recognize some subtleties. In fact, present-day Shanghai was used as the backdrop of a futuristic Los Angeles. But beyond the sweeping visuals there are meaningful life messages imbedded in this film that are monumental and timely. Theodore’s relationship with an OS may be considered taboo or odd, to the modern day viewer, but is surprisingly easily accepted. I felt it mirrored a prominent social issue we face today in our world of unconventional relationships, gay marriage. Although not identical, there were moments of similarity that made you think, no matter what time period we live in there will always be social changes we need to accept.
On a larger scale Her hits home with our dependance and obsession with technology. Funny enough, seconds after the film I checked my iPhone and instantly felt a chill through my body. One day the lines of real versus artificial will become blurred. I definitely could understand how Theodore formed a romantic relationship with Samantha. She gave him something that was more concrete than just the physical, she touched him intellectually by stimulating his thoughts and feelings. In a sense, we are all in some kind of relationship with our devices; whether it’s checking Facebook every thirty minutes or constantly tweeting our daily activities. Her takes this current reality one step further and gives us a look into what can become of our future.
The cast is star-studded with great actors like Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, and Ronney Mara. Joaquin Phoenix played astonishingly as the awkward, but fun-loving guy. Although we physically see no signs of Scarlett Johansson, she was perfectly casted. She really gave a humanistic feel and form to the character. Ultimately, you couldn’t help but root for this unlikely love story. Their relationship made you feel all the ups and downs that come with the journey that we call love. If there is any movie you see this award season, make sure you check out Her. You’ll be glad you stopped tweeting for a couple hours.