Director: Spike Jonze
Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde
Runtime: 120 minutes
Release Date: January 16th, 2014
Reviewed by The Mole(s)
MO: When I first saw the trailer for Her, I audibly cringed and then wrote it off as total hipster fodder. Then the internet was non stop, Her, Her, Her and I was all, alright. I’ll get past Where the Wild Things Are and give this a go, OK INTERNET? Plus I love the Roons.
LE: I should probably mention here that being full of fried chicken and various alcoholic beverages, I did nod off a few times… in my defence, I have never tried so hard to stay awake IN.MY.LIFE.
I think my trepidation was tied to Joaquin Phoenix, as well as the tricky subject matter. I honestly didn’t believe that Jonze could pull it off, but he did! I had two pre-requisites going into the film - one: I didn’t want the film to feel preachy about how reliant we are these days on technology; two: I didn’t want Joaquin to be too creepy (let’s bear in mind the last film I saw him in was The Master).
MO: I was pleasantly surprised and relieved that it wasn’t just some Charlie Brooker techoapocalypse (no offence to Charlie Brooker, I love your hate but only in small doses).
I think the strength of the film came from it not just being a technology-tale but a very humanist drama with an additional character, the husky OS (operating system for the acronymically challenged), Samantha (Scarlett Johansson).
LE: What really worked was that Jonze eased you into it, it was quite subtle. It didn’t look too obviously like “the future” as I don’t think that was really the point of the film. Things just happened, and you were in the cinema going, “Oh, that’s happening”, rather than “WHOA, THE FUTURE!! MIND EQUALS BLOWN!!!” I shudder to think about what any other director would have done with this script - but I guess this is the beauty of writing the words and then being at the helm of bringing your words to life, right?
MO: Total creative control, I think it can go both ways, or maybe it just relies on how well writer and director are at communicating their ideas.
It was a very subtle future, all Ikea and preppy geeks. Halfway through I was thinking to myself, I wouldn’t mind a personalised OS in my ear that I could think out aloud (bitch and moan) too, without complaint.
LE: I had a feeling you were enjoying the costume design!
I don’t know, maybe it’s just because we see people (losers) walking around with bluetooth headsets all the time, the idea of that little earpiece was a stroke of genius. It allowed the relationship between Theodore and Samantha to feel very natural, it was as if two humans were on the phone to each other, sussing each other out. I’m so impressed, I don’t know about you, but I never got a sense of feeling weird about the relationship between Theodore and Samantha at all (until it did actually get weird).
MO: I didn’t think it was weird at all. Long distance relationships exist now and it’s just two people and Skype, all physical contact is gone (ok, not permanently) and people successfully do it. Even further removed from that, people meet and chat online without ever meeting each other in real life. To me it was all about connections and imagination. This is A.I. we’re talking about - THIS IS THE FUTURE!
LE: Haha, I think the most “unrealistic” thing about the film for me was how natural Samantha’s voice sounded, I just kept thinking “when are they going to make A.I. sound less computery” (looking at you, Siri).
MO: That is a massive challenge to solve before we all start getting OS BFs and BFFs.
LE: What did you think of Joaquin? I was chatting with someone about this today, and we were discussing (arguing) whether or not he was creepy - and I guess to some degree he was a little bit, but in a sweet, nerdy way and not a chilling way. He’s such a good actor, and he definitely played his part in making this film what it is.
MO: I don’t think I’d describe him as creepy in Her at all (whoa, that was an odd sentence). I found Theodore more withdrawn and misunderstood, maybe a little shy.
He manages to carve both strong and alternatively very fragile characters with such ease. I think the moustache helped a lot in this film.
LE: Hahaha, what did you like better? The moustache or the pants?
MO: His collection of coloured shirts really won me over. Clearly the red was his favourite.
What did you think of the overall look and feel of the film?
LE: I loved it. Jonze’s future is so clean and well designed! I guess that’s what would happen if everyone was extremely organised, thanks to the benefit of having operating systems running their lives. My highly disorganised mind, cannot wait for this to happen.
MO: And it goes without saying that Amy Adams was totally ADORKABLE (I’m sorry…).
I was very satisfied that this wasn’t just some mediation on the perils of technology but a love story. Tech-rom? Sci-rom? Rom-sci? Rom-ology?
LE: Rom-ology wins the day for me! Let us not forget sexy ScarJo, who brought so much sass and personality to this Tech-romedy (ok, this one wins now). I loved this and can’t wait to watch it again. Four and a half operating soft-serve cones from me.
MO: I only hope our future is free from the crimes against crotches that are harry highpants. I’m giving it four e-choc-tops.