Let’s give Spike Jonze some credit. It’s a testament to his undeniable talents that he has been able to achieve substantial success in Hollywood – given the immense, self-imposed weight he chooses to carry around in adopting the stage name : “Spike Jonze”. I mean, his abilities have to be truly legitimate, to overcome a name worthy of something you might see attached to the credits of late 90s Cinemax soft-core porn.
His latest directorial offering is “Her”, starring Joaquin Pheonix as Theodore Twombly and Scarlett Johansson as Samantha(the voice of an Operating System). Basically, Theo falls in love with and dates a computer program capable of learning and changing with time and influences – just like a human being, but without all that pesky flesh, and a lot more processing power.
The movie is set in the not too distant future, and according to fashion clues, flash flooding is now a constant threat, and neon colors have been deemed highly offensive. The film did a great job with the effects and details in creating a fascinating and believable future world. Phoenix is his usual captivating self – providing a warm, relatable character for the audience to follow into the virgin territory of an Artificial Intelligence romance. There are a million ways this kind of movie could have been a total disaster. It’s easy to take for granted, since the movie pulled things off so fluidly, and we have no other projects attempting this bold of a love story to compare Her to. Spike also directed one of my favorite movies – “Adaptation”. Just like this film, there are so many ways things could have gone off the rails and become a convoluted mess. These are unbelievably tough scripts to convert into a compelling, effective final cut. And in most other hands, I doubt we’d find this level of clarity of thought, and richness in detail.
My only complaint was that I wanted more interesting things to happen. The story was a bit dry. This made the movie drag a wee bit, but the visuals were captivating enough to entertain by themselves, so it wasn’t really a challenge to get through. I just wanted more twists and turns to come out of the journey. At some points, it felt a bit like looking at some beautiful nature photography exhibit in a museum. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it didn’t detract from the movie, but I needed a bit more drama to peak my full interest. This movie is still very well made and certainly worth seeing. If for nothing else, than the interesting conversations and questions about our own future it will inevitably spark, as you walk out of the theater.
Overall Rating : 7.8/10