We continue our look at Best Picture nominees with Spike Jonze’s Her (R).
In the not-so-distant future an introverted divorcee (Joaquin Phoenix) begins a new romantic relationship with his brand new sentient computer operating system — voiced by Scarlett Johanson. Rooney Mara, Amy Adams, and Chris Pratt costar in the film.
Andy: At first glance, the premise of Her seems like it belongs in a mindless comedy. The ridiculousness of the concept of a man falling in love with his computer probably would have been impossible to pull off in a realistic way as recently at ten years ago, but technology advances at breakneck speed. In the age when everyone knows Siri’s name, it is not hard to imagine an AI that is advanced enough for reasonable people to see the blurred line between human and machine. Part of what makes Her so brilliant is that it treats the subject matter as a very serious love story, and skips most of the obvious jokes about getting romantically involved with an operating system.
Ryan: Her is not only one of the best films of the year, but also one of the more resonant. Granted, the premise of the movie seems far-fetched, but Jonze presents the movie in such an earnest manner that one buys into the romantic narrative. Phoenix shines as the lead and his dorkiness and sincerity also help solidify the romance that blossoms in the movie. But at the end of the day Her is much more than an unusual-yet-believable 21st century romance.
The movie tackles age-old questions dealing with the nature of love, romance, courtship, marriage and what is real, but frames it in a contemporary fashion with how modern technology effects (or will effect) these notions of human behavior with regard to how we relate to one another.