When you first hear the plot of ‘Her’, you could be forgiven for thinking it is going to be a fratboy style comedy. “Man falls in love with his operating system…”, sounds like a bad idea but Spike Jonze does not really deal in bad ideas, each one of his big screen adventures has taken the medium forwards with emotion and love far above any other writers/directors currently working.
No, Her is no comedy, although it does have some charming funny moments. It is a tour de force of love and loss with Joaquin Phoenix once again putting on a great performance which really should have been Oscar nommed, if not taken the shiny statue. ScarJo is great too, the best thing that you can say is that it is not until the end of the film that you realize that you never see her, most of the film is just Phoenix and a voice, but the way that the characters interact is stunning and at no point do you think “She isn’t real”.
The story finds Phoenix after his marriage has broken up and he discovers an interesting sounding new operating system which he names Samantha and soon he finds that she learns as she grows and he begins to fall in love with her and her him. This results in him going out again, having fun again, taking care of his appearance again, all of the things that happen when you meet a girl and things start to shine. The film is set slightly in the future and there are some great scenes of Phoenix playing videogames where a rude little sprite constantly slags him off, this is an absolute joy. Now your favourite characters are an operating system and a pixellated dude. Yet Spike Jonze great Oscar winning script makes you care about these characters and enjoy every minute that you spend with them.
The human cast is no slouch either. Phoenix, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pratt, Kristen Wiig, all put on a great show but live slightly in the shadows as Phoenix shines his light upon Samantha.
Naturally, you know from the start that something is going to go wrong and you really feel for JP when it does, you don’t laugh at the idiocy of his actions, even a scene where he takes Samantha to a picnic to meet his friends feels natural, this is a future that we are already seeing being drawn and it is not a million miles away – watch next time you are in the street, how many people are looking up at the sky, looking at people going past? And how many are only focussed on their phones. Sure they are not in love but they are dependent and this kind of OS would no doubt be another step towards closing oneself off from the real world all together.
There is also a great documentary on love featured on the Blu, which features such icons as James Murphy, Chvrches and Bret Easton Ellis which makes for a very interesting addition to an already essential purchase. Her is beautiful, magical, heartbreaking and new. See it. Fall in love.