Sound Off: Spike Jonze's 'Her' Starring Joaquin Phoenix - Thoughts?
by Alex Billington
January 10, 2014
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It's like a socially acceptable form of insanity." Now showing everywhere is Spike Jonze's Her, his new sci-fi romance starring Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson as Samantha, his Operating System girlfriend. The film first premiered at the New York Film Festival to rave reviews, and is now playing in wide release. Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Chris Pratt also co-star. Is it any good? What did you make of it, and its quirky style? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on Spike Jonze's Her.
Spoiler Warning: We strongly urge everyone to actually see the film before reading ahead, as there may be spoilers below. We also encourage all commenters to keep major spoilers from the film to a minimum, if possible. However, this is an open discussion from this point on! Beware of spoilers, don't ruin this film!
To fuel the fire, I absolutely adore Her, it's my #1 favorite film of 2013. I saw it twice in one day because I loved it so much and had to go back and watch it again. Aside from its very heartfelt, very charming, very moving story about love at the core, Her is such a boldly unconventional and completely unique creation, I can't help but love its originality. Even the costumes, right down to the paper clip in Theodore's shirt pocket. I especially love Amy Adams in this, she's different but just as charming as always. The score by Arcade Fire is subtle but beautiful, and the cinematography is just gorgeous. I even love the seemingly random futuristic moments like the upside-down 737 art piece. This is Spike Jonze's masterpiece on many levels. I love Her.
What did you think of Spike Jonze's Her? Wonderful sci-fi brilliance, or dull hipster disaster?
We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!
Reader Feedback - 18 Comments
Let's just say my worry about having to alter my 2013 top ten list when I finally saw this movie was not justified.
Chiroptera Exsanguination on Jan 10, 2014
I'm not saying it was bad, but it wasn't that great. Granted I had pretty high hopes, but still. There were a lot of great moments that gave me hope that it would end up working as a film and yet when the credits rolled I was left with a very "that's it?" feeling. Good performances all around, good looking movie, but the relationship didn't feel real to me and that's most important in these kinds of pictures. Side note: though it's true I am a white person in my twenties, I do not care for Arcade Fire.
Chiroptera Exsanguination on Jan 10, 2014
This movie is a monumental achievement for Spike Jonze. I've never been moved/loved a movie so much. OSCARS FOR EVERYONE. Also when does the soundtrack come out?!
speedracer on Jan 10, 2014
My relationship with it mirrored the ups and downs of the main relationship in the movie. It was very unique and original. Its a very 'clean' future. In the end, it'll be a top 5 film of 2013 for me, but falling short of the top prize by a couple rungs.
Ryan R on Jan 10, 2014
Finished watching "Her" a couple hours ago and was simply floored. A psychological love story that will go on my shelf right next to "Eternal Sunshine." Beautiful, melancholy, soul-crushing, yet hopeful. The story, despite given function by futuristic technology, the central focus is truly human, and the need that humans have to love and be loved. In a world where people are easier to reach than ever in history, yet true human connection is growing farther apart, Jonze's message is calling for a return to basic human interaction. Even Theodore's job, writing letters for other people who apparently cannot be bothered to write their loved ones themselves. Its truly frightening, the "do-it-for-me" culture that we live in and the self-absorbence that justifies such apathy. Husbands and wives, communicating through words that are not theirs, though posed as an exaggeration, drives the point home that we, as individuals, are only worth as much as those we share our lives with. Rooney Mara's character had few lines, but were key to the point of Jonze' narrative. Theodore could not handle real emotions, he could not deal with affecting real people, he got exactly what he needed from Samantha, and never had to deal with the consequences of being imperfect, and how a real person might react to his shortcomings. I think many of us are guilty of being "in love with our laptops," I know I am, and my ex reminds me of it constantly, because yes, its easy, and predictable, and safe, and it doesn't misunderstand you and freak out, it doesn't have thoughts to hide, or emotions that might be difficult to understand. I noticed that Samantha never lies to Theodore. She may have not disclosed everything readily, but when asked, she didn't beat around the bush, she didn't dodge the question, she didn't flip the blame, she stated simply and honestly. One wonders if Samantha had the capacity to lie. One wonders if Samantha had capacity for malicious intent. She was engineered for a gentle perfection, something that no man or woman can lay claim to. That might be my only point of dissatisfaction with "Her." I'd like to see "Her" as the crazy, jealous, manipulative, psychopathic liar that men in the real world are faced with every day. Sure, Samantha demonstrated some insecurities, but thanks to lightning fast processor power, was able to resolve that insecurity by compressing 40+ years of the maturation process into a fraction of a second. But I've written enough, and I'll let someone else draw their own conclusions now. I love Spike Jonze, he's an absolute genius, and "Her" is his best work yet.
Nick on Jan 11, 2014
Favourite film of the year. Revolutionary story telling. Spike Jonze's best to date. 10 of 10.
Alex Williams on Jan 11, 2014
Favorite film of 2013. Simply loved it. Can't stop thinking about it. My only complaint is now I have to change my 2013 favorite's List!
Nathan Williams on Jan 11, 2014
for me movie did not live up to its hype, it's well made, has the whole spike jonze package, music, cinematography, editing, etc but as a programmer and a sci fi fan, the plot holes were just too in my face for me to properly interpret the movie's message. then there's the dialogue, to be honest the ai's dialogue were so cliche they completely misled me, i was waiting for some sort of a twist and it never happened. between that and getting distracted by the ear piece and the hand held thingy every time they show up because i kept on wondering how they are on 24/7 without needing to be charged, i just could not take this movie seriously.....sad
lyqlyq on Jan 11, 2014
It's interesting that this is one of your complaints "every time they show up because i kept on wondering how they are on 24/7 without needing to be charged" lol. You really need a fuckign scene to show them being charged? You can't deduce that yourself? LOL come on bro. Come on...
dvtvt on Jan 13, 2014
Just a quick question cause I've been wanting to know the answer to this (and it's very relatable to Leo Di Caprio)....I read awhile back both guys were suppose to retire from acting and yet, it never seemed to happen? Was that career choice scratched?
JBrotsis on Jan 12, 2014
Actually Phoenix revealed that his "retirement" and eccentric behavior were for a mockumentary film I'm Still Here (2010), that he and Casey Affleck were filming. Leonardo DiCaprio just takes a long break from acting, he have no movies in the process right now.
Oriyan J. Ovadia on Jan 12, 2014
Leo has basically said, albeit modestly, that he's at a point in his career where he can do whatever project he wants and he can afford to wait until he finds just the right script. He even has a little production company that basically exists to find and develop scripts tailored just for Leo. He doesn't really do "payday" movies at this point, he only does passion projects that he really likes - which often means he's waiting/searching for awhile, and then even once he does find a project he's usually involved at an earlier stage than most actors are with their projects, which means we normal folk have to go longer stretches without seeing him.
Wafffles on Jan 12, 2014
I sat in the theatre until the credits ended, emotionally numb and melancholic. Her has made me feel so many emotions. I’m in love with the set design and costumes. The attention to detail in both the set design and costumes is absolutely jaw dropping. The design of wide open spaces works incredibly well with the main character Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) because it shows how opens and full of people the world is, but he has the hardest time finding love and keeping attached to love. The color scheme of primary colors works really well for this future world Jonze is portraying. It’s like he’s saying you don’t have to have flashy, neon lights be the future and the same goes for the costumes. The beautiful 70s infused clothing in this future world is perfect and the detail of fabric for each clothing item made me happy. The score/soundtrack assists the film so well. It adds to all the emotion portrayed onscreen. DON’T WATCH THIS FILM ON YOUR COMPUTER. Experience the awe-inspiring cinematography on the big screen. Jonze and his cinematographer utilize close-ups in the best possible way, to show emotion. The close-ups take up the whole screen and you’re left with just looking at the character’s emotion and the grand scale details of human emotion. If anyone knows me really well, then you will expect what I’m about to say, all the tracking shots, wide shots, and lots of head room is jaw-dropping. Her is one of the best and most unique love story of our time, a relationship between a man and a operating system, and it has fucking heart. You go through all emotions of confusion, love, joy, happiness, excitement, fear, lonely, depressed, ect. that not only Theodore goes through, but the operating system, Samantha, goes through. It’s quite remarkable. The script opens up a lot of questions that us as the audience may ask ourselves, what does being a human being mean and how do we cope with evolution? That question will go through your mind after seeing the film, which will branch off into questions of life and love. Now that the heaviness of love has talked about, let’s talk about how surprisingly funny Her is at times. Theodore plays this video game and there’s this little character that is really crude, which I had me laughing hard. There are other moments between Theodore and Samantha that are really uplifting and fun. A really well told and paced love story. Every single actor in Her is perfection. Phoenix carries this film with so much emotion, literally every emotion, with confusion and heaviness. He shines the most in the close-ups that pay attention to his detail. Scarlett Johansson (Samantha) is probably the best she’s been and it’s only her voice. Using just her voice, she delivers so much wonder and curiosity to this world her character being introduced to for the first time. She’s like a new born baby experiencing every emotion for the first time. Amy Adams is so good and I’ve been impressed lately. I’ve never been a fan, but within the past couple years, I’ve come too really like her. She portrays the awkward, lovable neighbor so well that everytime her and Phoenix were in the same scene together, I smiled. If you read what I’ve written you will not the over-used word is “detail/s” and that is because Her is a lot about the details and Jonze directs it flawlessly.
BryceH6 on Jan 12, 2014
Made you think about love, life, and the future in ways that I havent imagined. The palet of colors, set design, and cinemetography was beautiful. Arcade fire was a great choice... my only beef was I didnt find a scene where a song just built up the emotion to any great heights... could have been the roller coaster of inner thoughts and deep thinking that you are put through. I felt like my heart and mind ran a marathon at the end of the movie.
SCAL-LA-BREEN-E on Jan 13, 2014
Dat singularity........and upper existence subtly...... Fuck man. Wasn't ready for that lol.
dvtvt on Jan 13, 2014
So did anyine else get the implication that Theodore and Amy were going to commit suicide at the end? Or am I just morose and crazy?
robthgreat on Jan 14, 2014
Yes, I had that feeling for a second or two!
Darren Gurney on Jan 16, 2014
This movie is elegantly able to speak to so many different people about their own relationship issues. Ultimately the premise I got is that no human relationship will ever be perfect. We self-sabotage relationships because we always find ways to poke at something that is excellent but not perfect. Ultimately the realization is that we have to learn to be truly accepting of ourselves and what we seek as individuals before we can share that with another, knowing that bumps will be inevitable, but ultimately worthwhile. I think its one of the most poetic and beautiful movies I have ever seen, speaking moreso to the human condition than to any one aspect of it (i.e., technology, romantic relationships, etc.)
Jared on Jan 15, 2014
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