There are many things that I love about the art of the motion picture, I think its the greatest art form there is and one with unlimited and unending potential. Every time someone says that everything has been done nowadays, comes a movie like inception, like Cloud Atlas, a Frozen. They take a new spin on an idea or improve upon or do something completely new and original, films with passion and dedication put into every single scene and “Her” is everything I love about the art of film making.
This is the first 10 in this site’s history, and honestly, in mine as well. I always loved talking about films and even discussing their rating and I have seen quite a few films throuogth my life. I truly think this is the first film worthy of a ten, and sure I’ve seen amazing movies, movies that take my breath away by how amazingly well done they are, yet I find myself giving always 9.5 at best ,there is always one scene or another that doesn’t completely satisfy me and I just can’t bring myself to rate it like that. Her may not be flawless, but ill be damned if I can spot something I don’t like in it.
The nature of human opinion is a dubious one, we can argue all night about how superman didnt commit genocide, how inside lleweny Davis is an amazing film, so on and so on, but we will never change our individual opinions and believe me when I say, that is not my goal, at all. My goal here is to provide a opinion on the film that you decide if you trust or not, I’m helping you spend your money and your time in somewhere worthwhile.
If I have failed to do that, I apologize but again that is the nature of opinions. People who look at films I dont like and say that i am wrong and that the movie is better than what I give it credit for, I can’t say that they are wrong in their particular point of view. I can simply say that I don’t share it. Of course there are technical details that can be proven factually that are bad but every day I’m surprised by how much people are able to put up with if something in the movie works for them.
What is Her? And why does it deserve this rating ?
“Her” is a romance, first and foremost a romance, and the most complex romance I have ever seen or heard off in my life. In a close future, Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a lonely man who works for a letter writing service. He isn’t very social but still has this likable personality, he works amazingly well as a look at the lonely human condition, he organically explores his feelings and his his thoughts, (on dating, on love, on life itself) and Its fascinating to watch. Theodore being anti-social and all, ends up spending most of his time playing video games and on the internet, so he is an obvious buyer of the newly released operating system simply called OS-1. The system is essentially an AI that learns from its user and adapts to fulfill their needs, more than a simple voice commanded computer. Theodore realizes the full extent of this AI when he installs it and the AI introduces itself as Samantha, voiced by Scarlet Johansson.
The story then revolves around Samantha growing and developing along with Theodore, as he just went trough a divorce recently and is pretty bummed out about it. Samantha then provides this friendship to him, this new light on his life that doesn’t see things as gloomy as he does. She is excited to learn about the world and about herself, she is an AI and the movie doesn’t just shove this aside. It’s the focal point, she may talk like a human and develop emotions like a human(a plot line which is extremely well developed when she herself wonders if her emotions are real) but she has an incredible processing power. She can read a book in under a microsecond for example, trough this excitement she develops a really quirky and lovable personality and Theodore, much to his and our surprise, finds himself quickly falling for her.
Every single question that statement just brought up in your mind the movie talks about and analyses in a completely organic manner. This, I don’t think has ever been done before, and if it has, it definitely wasn’t as well done as it was here. This relationship they develop, is so honest and interesting to behold. They are both fully defined people with flaws that they work out, and the story flows beautifully trough the film, taking us trough everything about their life, and more importantly than every issue being brought up, its done well, extremely well! For example, Theodore has a meeting with his ex wife about the divorce papers and after that meeting, Theodore becomes constantly more upset and confused about his relationship with an operating system, and they resolve this really well which obviously, I wont spoil.
Amy Adams is also in this film and here you can really see the difference a good director makes. With American hustle, I thought her acting was wooden and boring, completely different of what we see here. (no disrespect to the director of that film but the difference is very noticeable in her acting, and all the other people in this film as well.)
Its even hard to define what I mean but take it this way. I could walk with you scene by scene of this film and explain why it makes sense and why its clever to the overall plot and their character arcs, and that has never happened to me before. There is so much passion and dedication in every shot of this film, to me its like the Sistine chapel of the cinema world.
Spike Jonze is a great director and I tend to enjoy his films, I thought “adaptation”, like this film, was amazingly original and surreal but “Her” has a distinct difference from “adaptation”, and it is beautiful.
And I mean gorgeous. The way it’s shot is absolutely superb. The music by arcade fire, flows so well with the visuals when Theodore has a flashback, its like they perfectly visually represented what its like to have a happy memory and a sad one too. They show the scene with a music score with no dialogue or sound from the flashback itself, often with either dialogue from the current scene or just with ambient noise. This is so damn effective, one scene where Samantha and Theodore share an “intimate” moment Is particular amazing. This scene could have been so awkward if done wrong but through Scarlet Johansson’s amazing performance and the score and the visuals of it, it just feels surreal and absolutely fascinating to behold.
This films setting is a Sci-Fi one, a very early and a very believable Sci-Fi. You can tell its more advanced than our current setting but its believable. You have the strange designs of restaurants, the foods turned into juices and such, and the future video games with advanced AI, and the earpiece that somehow can detect your voice commands even in a subway, and so on so on. But this is taken into a new perspective on the sense that, the setting is merely a backdrop. It never takes front stage and that’s the way it should be, sci-fi movies can get lost in its setting and yet “Her” restrained it self and only showed off its setting when the characters where interacting with it.
I feel like a little kid getting shown Fantasia for the first time. I cannot tell you how long its been before I have been fascinated with a film and its story. You can show me Gravity, you can show me Avatar, you can show the most amazing special effects in the god damn world, they are not more beautiful than this movie.
This film is art in its essence. I have never seen something like it and usually when movies have this much style they lack content, and when they have content this interesting they lack in style, this movie balances both amazingly, juggling your emotions with ease. It knows how to be funny, it knows how to be dramatic and when the main character feels panic, you feel his panic. You feel his joy and his sorrow. I was completely immersed in its glory and I’m just sorry it had to end.
Not that the ending was bad by any means, it was again interesting it was somewhat ambiguous and fit with the whole theme of the film.
I never knew what a 10/10 would look like, and now I do. It’s beautiful, its complex inside a simple idea, it’s amazingly well acted and filmed to near perfection with its amazing soundtrack by a band that I’ve been ignoring until now. I am confident in saying that Her took this story and made it as good as it could ever be and it’s a sight to behold. Its pointless to say that I would recommend this movie to you with all my heart, I’ve heard of people who dint like it and I’m not sure why nor can I understand that, but I suppose if you aren’t in the mind set to watch this film it can come off as boring, but if you let yourself go and become immersed in the film, I do think this is a experience you will not want to pass up.