Daniella Cuencas ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
Her is an interesting film featuring an unconventional love story. The plot follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely man whose profession is to write heartfelt letters for people, and his relationship with an artificially intelligent operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). After going through a divorce from his wife (Rooney Mara), he gets Samantha to help organize his computer and they experience a deep, unexpected connection. The film depicts the obstacles of a relationship between human and computer while exploring the effects of technology on the ways we interact with one another. On a high note, Phoenix and Johansson’s performances along with the visuals were great. However, the movie’s ending leaves something to be desired.
The film’s setting facilitates the story very well. It is close enough to the present to be completely plausible, yet also futuristic enough to be refreshing and unique. Many of the sets seem to have a retro 70s flare, along with the costumes. Many characters wore layered looks with button-down shirts and high-waist pants were a common theme. The familiarity of the setting helped to convey that even though the story is set in the future, the problems that many humans experience seem to remain virtually the same throughout the ages.
The film also features some really strong performances, led by the exceptional Phoenix and Johansson. Phoenix does a great job of embodying the life of a lonely, slightly creepy man struggling with a lot of inner turmoil. He masters Theodore’s slouchy posture, and most importantly, the eyes of someone who seems a little lost in life. And while Johansson gets zero physical screen time, her voice does more than enough to set the scene. Her intonations are genuine and allow the audience to feel her presence even though she cannot be seen on camera. One of the best examples of this is a scene in which Theodore and Samantha are on a double date.
The only thing that made it hard to love the movie completely was its ending. The film concluded too abruptly without a proper resolution, made all the worse by the fact that many of the film’s most complicated messages about love and relationships were unresolved. The characters were left to their own devices, which could have worked in theory but was done a little too simply to be satisfying.
Despite its flawed ending, the performances are spectacular, the soundtrack gives the movie a nice flow, and the issues that director Spike Jonze addresses are relevant and relatable. Overall, it should charm audiences when it hits theaters on January 10th.
Overall Grade: B+/A-