Eccentric lonely guys beware, Her may crush your world for the few days after viewing this film. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) plays the sensitive and usually misunderstood guy who is having a hard time getting over a serious relationship with his ex-wife, Catherine (Rooney Mara). After some searching and harsh disappointment, Theodore finally finds love in a new operating system called the OS¹(Scarlett Johansson). The artificial intelligence of the OS grows through its talks and experiences with Theodore and they fall hard for each other; going through the usual trials and tribulations of a normal relationship with some obvious added obstacles.
Spike Jonze retains his usual sense of wistfulness and wondrous melancholy; but it is boosted times a thousand due to Phoenix's sheer and innate performance. Some of Her's most poignant moments are also its most immobile ones, in contrast to its ever-so-fast moving world around the characters. Its deliberate tonal shifts and pacing keep your stomach turning throughout the films entirety. You'll laugh. You'll cry. And if you identify at all with Theodore, you'll heavily contemplate what it is you're doing with your life.
Despite its weirdly vague last minutes, Her is one of the best explorations of technology and modern relationships to ever hit the screen and Joaquin Phoenix gives one of the best, if not, the best performance of the year. Jonze continues to smack us over the head with his unnerving and touching approach at trying to explain the human condition and the idea of love that we all so constantly yearn for. And maybe that is why its ending is weirdly vague. Because love is weirdly vague.
Review by Ryan Kramer