Her (2013) – Dystopian Love

Her (2013), directed by the inventive Spike Jonze, is a deeply engaging movie that manages to captivate you with its vividly stunning cinematography. What strikes you about this film right from the start is the way it’s remarkably shot. Visually, it’s a breathtaking delight with every scene meticulously framed, creating a mesmerizing display of colors and compositions that draw you in. The color palette, with its soft, warm hues, expertly mirrors the emotional narrative, lending a rich texture to the film’s futuristic setting, somewhat narrative dystopia.

Leading the cast is Joaquin Phoenix, whose performances never fail to captivate the audience, and his portrayal of Theodore Twombly in this film is no exception. His somber portrayal of a lonely man navigating an emotionally complex world was absolutely terrific. He brings depth and nuance to a character who is both deeply introspective and lost in his longing for connection, further elevating the storytelling.

Her (2013) – Warner Bros.

But despite the visual appeal and Phoenix’s heartfelt performance, parts of the first and second acts are definitely a bit unusual and uncomfortable to watch, perhaps purposefully so, but unclear. There are moments that hover on the brink of being oddly awkward, prompting feelings of discomfort and even borderline cringe. For example, the picnic scene with Theodore’s coworker and his girlfriend, the whole its scene creates a profound sense of secondhand embarrassment where as an audience member you can’t help but feel pity for Theodore, wanting him to just break free from his delusion once and for all.

Scarlett Johansson also delivers a remarkably layered performance as the AI “Samantha”. Her vocal nuances bring a sense of life and familiarity that contradicts the artificial nature of her character, making her feel both intimately human and unsettlingly alien. Johannsson’s ability to evoke empathy, connection, and even discomfort through voice alone definitely highlighted her skill. It’s through her performance that Samantha felt “alive”, blurring the lines between human and artificial, comfort and unease.

Her (2013) – Warner Bros.

The film’s narrative did a nice job of unfolding in a way that it’s pretty apparent who the right person for Theodore actually be with. This actually helped heighten the anticipation of wanting to see how everything will turn out, making the eventual outcome all the more satisfying. The supporting performances, especially from Amy Adams and Rooney Mara, only add to this tapestry of emotions, reinforcing the nuanced exploration of human relationships in the digital age.

I was happy with the resolution of the story, and the way things concluded for Theodore and the rest of the cast was definitely satisfying. The narrative comes full circle, imbuing a sense of fulfillment that resonates, alongside terrific final moments.

Her (2013) – Warner Bros.

Interesting to note that when the film first released, jokes were made in comparison to Siri. But now with something like OpenAI and ChatGPT, the somewhat dystopian world that Her portrayed doesn’t seem too far off. It’s an interesting testament to the film’s visionary outlook.

So overall, Her is an intriguing film, both visually and thematically. Its strengths lie not just in its extraordinary visual composition, but also in its thoughtful narrative and deeply affecting performances. The film’s score, an undercurrent of melancholy and somberness, enhances its emotional depth, for an overall poignant cinematic experience. The film offered a unique introspective exploration of love and connection in an increasingly digital world.

Her (2013) – Warner Bros.