HER: THE REVIEW

Salty Kernel, Dara Shashoua sends in her review for HER, the collaboration between Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix and an updated version of Siri, from the beaches of Thailand while sipping cocktails. The high flying life of a Salty Kernel never ends. For some trivia on the film, this is the first film that Spike Jonze as written and directed from his own original script – for me, right there, is the winner. He is so mentally obscure and amazing with what he does to be able to take something literally out of his mind is going to be a work of art. Also, Steve Soderbergh edited the first cut from 150mins to 90mins in 24hrs. HER is out now, is rated MA15+ and runs for 128mins. Enjoy Dara’s review below.

 

HER, HER REVIEW, HER MOVIE, DARA SHASHOUA, Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson, Samantha Morton
HER – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

HER is Spike Jonze’s newest offering to the cinematic world since WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, and simply, it’s a beautiful film. HER is a story based around Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) who is living in a futuristic Los Angeles and is working for beautifulhandwrittenletters.com, where he writes letters on behalf of clients for their loved ones.  Technology in Jonze’s future has become even more integrated than what we know today, such as, Theodore dictates the ‘hand written letters’ into his computer which then transfers these to written script, smartphones no longer exist but are replaced with an integrated system that allows the user to speak commands into an earpiece such as read email, delete email and so forth (Think Siri but infinitely smarter and better).  Theodore is also in the midst of a divorce to his childhood sweetheart Catherine (Rooney Mara), I guess you would describe him as simply sad and it is at this point in his life that Theodore comes home with a new Operating System with Artificial Intelligence that can interface with his life.  Theodore chooses a female system and we meet Samantha (Scarlett Johanssen).

 

HER, HER REVIEW, HER MOVIE, DARA SHASHOUA, Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson, Samantha Morton
HER – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Samantha, being Artificial Intelligence is able to ‘get to know’ Theodore very quickly as she is able to scan through his emails and documents, ‘see’ him through the camera on the computer, watch his facial expressions and accumulate facts about him.  Just stop and think for a moment how much of your life is on your computer, and what it would say about you. As Samantha is generations ahead of what we know, Theodore and the viewer are quickly convinced of a very real human connection.

There is a beautiful moment in the film where Theodore takes Samantha on a ‘date’ to an old fashioned carnival, he closes his eyes and Samantha leads him around with her words. They both laugh and Theodore ends spinning around and as a viewer it looks like the perfect date even though it is really one person, his earpiece and a camera. It is amazing how quickly we simply accept the relationship development between Samantha and Theodore, it all seems very natural. The acceptance of Samantha begins early on in the film where Theodore calls a sex line and chats with a woman named ‘Sexy Kitten’ who is voiced by Kristen Wiig, and yes, it is as funny as you would expect. We are already being drawn into the compliance of a voice on the line that interacts with Theodore, and once that interaction has been witnessed Samantha becomes even easier to accept.

 

HER, HER REVIEW, HER MOVIE, DARA SHASHOUA, Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson, Samantha Morton
HER – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

HER is beautifully shot with a kick ass soundtrack by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett and features additional music by Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Jones creates a future with muted tones such as grey, white and tan and strongly features beautiful design. If you are an aesthete like myself you will fall in love with the future created by Jones and his production team. Costume designer Casey Storm recently stated, “We decided that going backwards made sense, incorporating a range of elements from different decades and styles and putting them together to create something new.” Theodore’s pants are a high waisted style based upon mid century design, some of the furniture in his apartment is a throwback to 1950s design, but there are moments where colour stands out. These include Theodore’s bright red shirts, or the office panels where he works. At night he plays a holographic game that fills his lounge room, it has a very cute main character who revels in rude gesticulation and creates some very humourous moments.

Amy (played by Amy Adams) is Theodore’s only other real life friend that we see, they have known each other since college.  I found her character and performance quite surprising, unlike any other characters she has played and hugely different from her American Hustle role. Amy is pared back, with an overbearing husband who she kicks out and Amy and Theodore bond over their shared experience of divorce, she even gets him out on a real life date with a friend of hers (Olivia Wilde).

 

HER, HER REVIEW, HER MOVIE, DARA SHASHOUA, Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson, Samantha Morton
HER – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

HER is a remarkable film, Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is superb. He has created an awkward lovable man who is searching to heal his broken heart and finds it within an operating system. Scarlett Johanssen has been able to create an incredibly strong character with only her voice, which sound like liquid chocolate.  It has been very well documented that Scarlett was brought into the film after filming was complete, replacing Samantha Morton who had originally voiced Samantha.  I believe that Scarlett was definitely the better choice.

This really is an extremely beautiful and touching film that has a very curious social message. Jonze was quoted saying  “But I think what I was really trying to write about was the way we long to connect with each other. I really tried to make more of a relationship movie—or a love story and a relationship movie in the context of right now.” And I do think that you succeeded Mr Jonze, bravo. HER is an absolute triumph.

 

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL CLAIRE’S POP SCORE:

5 Pops

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE: 

3 and a Half Pops