Andy: Her opens with Phoenix’s Theodore at work, for a tech company called BeautifullyHandWrittenLetters.com. The concept is that people pay the website to write personal, “hand-written” letters to friends or loved ones. This technological spin on what used to be one of the most personal and organic human activities succinctly outlines the movie’s major premise. Our culture is redefining what words like “personal” and “humanity” mean, probably on a scale of time that is much faster than most of us realize. While modern life will likely not play out exactly as Jonze has presented to us here, we will likely be wrestling realistically with some of the major questions the film asks. And we will probably be doing that sooner rather than later.
Ryan: For me the reason Her works so well is that Jonze presents the movie with broad strokes of ambiguity. The pastel look of the film with its clean/ streamlined environment could be any major American city in the not-so-distant future. But even beyond the look of the film, the narrative unfolds in a way that requires reflection after the credits roll. I’m still trying to process the film. But I think it should be pointed out that the movie is much more than a romance. This is not a film that can be put in one specific genre (and that’s a good thing). Honestly there are a lot of sci-fi elements (especially with regard to technology) that dominate much of the film. There are also spiritual/ religious threads in the picture that further propel the narrative along.
Again, I give a lot of credit to Jonze and company for crafting a movie that feels straight-forward and unburdened, but that is also clever and thought-provoking. Her is a real cinematic achievement.
An extremely well-crafted film, a bevy of superb performances, and themes that will likely haunt the viewer for days to come all add up to Her being one of the year’s best films.
Final grade: A-.