Spike Jonze’s new film “Her,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, invites us into the future to meet Theodore Twombly, a man left heartbroken after the end of a long relationship with an unlikely partner: the voice of his computer’s operating system.
Desperate for a friend, Theodore invests in an “OS 1,” a new operating system that is programmed to speak, think and feel like a real human.
Surprised by how lifelike his technological companion Samantha is, Theodore quickly finds that he is better understood by her than any other tangible woman in his life.
The film unravels a passionate, complex love story like you’ve never seen before, showcasing the romantic relationship between Theodore and Samantha.
Jonze brilliantly delineates the near future as an attractive, high-tech environment where the streets are filled with pedestrians communicating not with each other, but with their ultra-modern devices.
However, society’s ability to converse with their futuristic operating systems does not at all indicate the demise of feeling alone.
In fact, the film insistently hints towards issues of isolation and solitude that makes the future seem a little less appealing.
Phoenix (Theodore) and Johansson (Samantha) both give uniquely authentic, praiseworthy performances.
For a sizeable portion of the film, Phoenix is tasked with acting alone, using nothing but his earphone as a prop.
His performance is deep and dynamic, though never too dramatic. Most importantly, he appears as a tremendously genuine and likable man.
Perhaps a bit more challenging, Johansson does not make an actual appearance throughout the movie.
Instead, she utilizes her voice as her only instrument and flawlessly generates a colorful array of emotions.
Just as Theodore claims to feel Samantha’s love, the audience, too, is able to experience her undeniable presence.
While the idea of a man falling in love with his computer may sound silly, “Her” is touching, imaginative, eye opening and relevant.
In the end, this film poses a number of pertinent questions regarding our ongoing love for technology, as well as our inability to be without it.
Furthermore, “Her” suggests that there is room for unconventional relationships such as these in our near future.