‘Her’ is a hidden marvel
For my last review of 2021, I’ve decided upon reviewing one of my all-time favorite films. Although the plot may sound strange, I urge you to hang with me until the end of my review!
Spike Jonze’s 2013 film, “Her,” tells a story in which a man falls madly in love with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant. In other words, he falls in love with a computer operating system that is reliant on making his everyday life a bit easier.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, and Rooney Mara, “Her” takes movie watchers into the near future where nearly anything is possible.
The film first introduces us to the main character, Theodore (Phoenix), who is seemingly a lonely and introverted man who is often comforted by his neighbor and close friend, Amy (Adams). Theodore is a professional writer that works for a company in which he is to write both heartfelt and personal letters for people who are unable to get the right words out on paper themselves.
This is ironic, considering Theodore does not seem to express how he is feeling most of the time, which explains the impending divorce from his wife, Catherine (Mara), that he has had on the backburner for months.
Out of touch with his emotions, and going through day by day in a blur, Theodore purchases an artificially intelligent system that serves as a virtual assistant to help him out when he needs it the most.
This virtual assistant can do whatever he needs it to do; it can remind him of a meeting that he has, it can serve as an alarm clock that wakes him up in the morning, and it can even speak to him like it’s another human being.
Theodore’s virtual assistant, who acquires the name Samantha (Johansson), greets him as soon as the download is complete, and they hit it off almost immediately.
They talk about life, share advice with one another, make each other laugh, and even go on adventures together!
After weeks of talking and learning about each other, the two discover that their relationship has become very special. Theodore begins to flourish at his job, writing better than ever before, and Samantha begins to grow more intelligent, and she becomes eager to learn all that she can.
At his very best since he was happily married, Theodore finally decides that it is time to reveal his feelings for Samantha to another person. He confides in Amy who passes no judgment since she has been relying on a virtual assistant of her own to keep her company.
After receiving a positive response from Amy, and to keep his happiness alive, Theodore shares the news with Catherine, hoping that he will officially be able to move on after doing so. Unfortunately, Catherine’s response is not as positive as Amy’s.
Catherine becomes infuriated with Theordore’s news and accuses Theodore of being unable to deal with “real” emotions. Catherine’s accusation sends Theodore into a downward spiral in which he self sabotages every relationship that he has, both with others and with himself.
I think that it is only fair that I stop my summary here. I will not reveal whether this film has a happy ending or not in hopes that you check it out for yourself.
The film’s portrayal of the hardships of modern relationships is extraordinary and I highly suggest that you give it a chance. If you are not interested in the plot, you may be interested in the cinematography because it is beautifully shot.
“Her” is rated R for language, brief nudity, and sexual content. It has scored a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and has won Best Original Screenplay at the 86th Academy Awards. “Her” is available for viewing on Disney+, Vudu, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video.
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Avery Heverly is a staff writer for The Express.