Watch Out for It: Her


Her doesn’t come out until December 18th. But it’s a movie you should watch once it hits theatres.

I was lucky enough to score some tickets to an advance screening of the film from a contest. And because free things are always welcome in my eyes, everything was just even better because I happened to really enjoy the film.

Directed by Spike Jonze, Her takes a look at our obsession with technology. The film follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely writer who falls in love with his newly-purchased computer (Scarlett Johansson) that’s designed to meet his every need.

While set in an advanced world where everyone’s schedules are organized and controlled by operating systems, the film has a pretty simple concept. Mostly a one-man show that’s accompanied by the voice of Johansson, Phoenix is absolutely superb going from depressed, joyful and contemplative. Johansson on the other hand (who has been getting some Oscar buzz for her performance) plays her role with much complexity. Considering that she’s not seen at all during the movie, her role as a computer feels totally real–especially when her character gets deeper upon entering a romantic relationship with Theodore.

Aside from the acting, the cinematography is absolutely stunning. Complimented with bright clothing, innovative technological advances and lovely handiwork by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, Her is also a treat for the eyes.

What’s the most haunting about this film of course, are its themes. The film shows everyone glued to their computers/smartphones, ringing true to our current obsession with technology. Johansson’s character Samantha also reminds me of a very advanced Siri operating system, making me scared that I might live in a future where people start having relationships with forms of artificial intelligence.

Phoenix’s Theodore reminds me too much of many people today who are clinging on to something in fear of getting hurt. It’s true that he’s lonely and trying to get over a messy divorce. But rather than getting in touch with a therapist, he places all his feelings on a computer–which ends up more dangerous than he intended. Luckily enough he has a real friend in Amy (Amy Adams), who is also going through a tough break-up.

I’m not sure if any of this makes sense, but Her really brings to light the theme of loneliness and asks whether technology distances us from real connections. It’s a film that feels too real for me at the moment. And instead of staying glued in front of computer all the time, this movie has actually made me desire more time connecting with humans rather than messaging people online.

P.S. If you liked Lars and the Real Girl, watch this.

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