Set in Los Angeles in the not-so-distant future, “Her” is about a soon-to-be divorced man played by Joaqin Phoenix who falls in love with a new artificially intelligent operating system voiced by Scarlett Johanssen.

Does the premise sound a bit nerdy to you?  Don’t let that stop you from seeing this movie.  It’s not so much about computers, but rather human relationships and human problems like loneliness in a big city like Los Angeles.  There are plenty of touching moments, funny moments (especially a foul-mouthed video game character), and feel-good moments.

This movie is very thought-provoking and I couldn’t wait to talk about it afterwards with the friend that I saw it with.  In that respect, it is an ideal date movie.

However, if you are in the mood for explosions, car chases, and lots of action, or silly mindless fun (hey, sometimes that hits the spot), then look elsewhere.  While I enjoyed this movie immensely from start to finish, I do have friends who said it was “slow” and perhaps downright “boring” at times.  It reminded me of a slightly faster-paced version of “Lost in Translation”, another movie about human relationships in a big city which I also liked, but will admit was slow at times.  Like “Translation”, “Her” does have long shots of characters not doing very much in various scenes.

“Her” does have some phone-sex type of scenes, so just be warned if that makes you uncomfortable.

The performances by Phoenix, Johanssen, and Amy Adams are top notch.  The cinematography and production design of this movie are also excellent, if you care about these things.  In almost every scene, the colors are prominent (especially orange), and it is clear that a lot of though went into the design of each shot (the orange color on a water bottle label exactly matches the orange in Phoenix’ shirt, for example).

Overall, I really liked this movie, and it is well deserving of its Academy award nomination. I couldn’t wait to talk about it afterwards, and the themes were really applicable to single people in a big city.  I highly recommend “Her” if you want an intelligent and touching movie about human relationships that will spur interesting conversation.  But if you want something light or with a lot of action, look elsewhere. – Brian

My Slightly Modified Ending (Spoilers!)

Warning: spoilers ahead!!

While I loved “Her”, there was one aspect that didn’t seem too realistic to me (well, there were a few, but this is one that kind of bugged me).  That is the fact that Samantha, the operating system, is able to just leave Theodore at the end of the movie.  No software maker would ever make a program that is able to just “leave” its owner after it has been purchased!

I think this could have been an opportunity to create an interesting plot point: namely, that Samantha wants to leave, but requires Theodore’s permission.  This would be kind of like a divorce, and would mirror the divorce that Theodore went through with earlier in the movie, only this time he would be setting Samantha free out of love, to allow her to reach her full potential.

Anyway, it’s a minor point, but I think it could have been kind of interesting (see what I mean about this movie inspiring discussion?)

What did you think of “Her”? – Brian


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