Joaquin Phoenix stars in “Her.”

Courtesy Photo

This Academy Award nominee for ‘Best Motion Picture of the Year’ provides a very fresh and unique storyline about relationships.  The always-interesting Joaquin Phoenix (Oscar-nominated for ‘”Gladiator”, ‘”Walk the Line” and “The Master”) effortlessly portrays the lonely Theodore Twombly, whose life is dramatically changed with the computerized download of an artificial intelligence operating system.  Quickly, Twombly finds this new software App involved in every part of his life; from close friends, conversations, emails, inside the workplace, and even in the bedroom.  

The sexy operating system ‘Samantha’ (the voice of Scarlett Johansson) offsets and competes with Twombly’s real human relationships.  These relationships include Twombly’s best friend Amy (played by Amy Adams), his coworkers, and a blind date (Olivia Wilde).  While several scenes depict cybersex between man and machine, ‘Her’ is really about ‘him’ - Phoenix’s nerdy, vulnerable character who attempts to find true romance and companionship.

It’s not fair to Director Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”) or this Oscar-nominated screenplay to call ‘Her’ just a movie about loneliness or a guy on the rebound from a pending divorce.  This film, and the new software program, reboots viewers’ thoughts about society’s vast dependence on electronic gadgets and raises innovation questions about the need for physical intimacy in a relationship.  “Her” takes sexting and online dating to a whole new level of long-distance relationships.

“Her” had a few slow moments during the film but thankfully continued to push beyond the simple narrative of a man who falls in love with his “Siri”.  It’s the questions raised about society’s reliance on gadgets, technology and the human need for touch that makes this picture worthy of a Oscar nod and sets it apart from most other films.  “Her” is a very watchable movie that will create discussions on relationships, both artificial and real.  No amount of gigabytes will be able to avoid that, nor should it.

Grade: B


(Editor’s Note: Patrick King is a resident of Oro Valley.  To read more of his reviews, visit the Reel Brief website at www.reelbrief.com. Contact King at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com.)

(1) comment

John Flanagan

The reality is that many Americans are, in fact, more addicted to their cell phones and computers than committed to improving and nurturing relationships with people on a face to face basis.

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