Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) Review
In the not-to-distance future, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is trying to get by after his recent divorce with Catherine (Rooney Mara). He decides to upgrade his computer system to the most recent model which allows his computer to have it's own artificial personality. After choosing the female setting, Theodore begins his new relationship with 'Samantha' (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Over time, Theodore finds himself infatuated with Samantha as the two get to know each other which brings up the idea of artificial romance.
What I admire the most about Her is that it offers a fresh new look at the genre. It manages to tell a unique love story (the only time I've seen this idea was in Futurama) while also nailing down all the tropes in the genre. Really, once you've seen this, you don't need to see another romance film again. You could argue it's 'the best of romance films'. The film also throws some good twists along the way and I legitimately had no idea what direction the film was going to take.
Joaquin Phoenix continues to prove his acting chops and shows good chemistry with his co-stars Amy Adams and Rooney Mara. He even works well with just the voice of Scarlett Johansson who is also great. I love the increase in voice acting in mainstream cinema (Benedict Cumberbatch in The Hobbit, for example) and Scarlett Johansson's performance looks to help continue this trend. Even Chris Pratt provides a good performance but, let's face it, this is going to be his year and he will be a star by the end (The LEGO Movie was a good start) so I'm rooting for him.
Her is a great addition to the romance genre as it offers a new perspective to the genre. Joaquin Phoenix does a great job as Theodore as he manages to convey the awkward, lonely...stereotype (yeah, no avoiding that one). It's also impressive that Scarlett Johansson does a good job solely through her voice work. As a huge fan of voice acting, I shouldn't be surprised but it's rare to see this applied to a big, mainstream, live action film. Her is unique and worth a watch sometime soon.
Her offers a new twist on a dry genre and the acting breaths life into it.