Austin Gorski’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I've never loved anyone the way I loved you."
This is why I hate star ratings. Different films strive to accomplish different goals. For example, comedies strive to entertain and humor the audience, horror films set out to scare it's audience, etc. So, even though this isn't five stars, it's better than the other films I've seen this year that I've given the five-star rating to (Captain Phillips, Anchorman 2, and Walter Mitty to name a few). Because, at least to me, this film isn't perfect. It just isn't. However, it's a damn impressive film that tugs on your emotions in ways you couldn't imagine.
Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal as Theodore, the lead of this love story. He's pretty much acting by himself for majority of the runtime, and he does a very impressive job. Scarlett Johansson, however, steals the show as Samantha, to operating system that Theodore falls in love with. He voice acting is very soothing and comforting. She deserves all the hype she's been getting for the role as it truly is something great.
However, this film has some (very) minor hiccups that prevent it from being amazing. The first thing that bugged me at first, but grew on me as the film progressed was the sexuality of the film. Both of the "phone sex" scenes to me felt very over-the-top, but looking back on it, they both served a purpose. Well, at least one did. The first one was more of the comic relief and was pretty funny, and the second occurrence was a passionate one. However, the vulgarity of those scenes just felt like a little too much for me. But who knows. The more I think about it, the less it bothers me.
One scene where the couple's sexual adventures didn't come off vulgarly and actually worked very well was the "surrogate" scene. Theodore's uncomfortably forced into an awkward session with Samantha and a surrogate to help the couple be more physical in their relationship. This subject matter, while futuristic now, is something that'll probably happen very soon, and seeing this scene play out was disturbing and made me uneasy, just how Theodore feels. It's probably one of my favorite scenes from a movie in the past year.
Adding on to the off-putting vulgarity, some of the supporting actors feel shafted. Amy Adams was great when she was on screen. Sadly, that wasn't very often, and I wish Spike Jonze had shown us more of her friendship with Theodore. Another character who should have more screen time was Chris Pratt as Theodore's boss. He was hilarious, as usual.
Despite those minor issues, the film is a success. The production design is absolutely breathtaking at times, such as Theodore's office, and the cinematography is great as well. The music fit in well with the film, especially the one song that both Johansson and Phoenix sing towards the end. Everything else about the film is impressive.
Her sadly wasn't my favorite film from 2013 like I was expecting it to be, but that isn't to say that it isn't one of my favorites. It's smart, funny, and heart-breaking. Somehow, Spike Jonze created a believable romance between a lonely man and operating system. He deserves some respect for that alone. Some people in my theater were laughing during the movie and were saying how ridiculous the film was. The sad thing about it is that this scenario will probably play out for many people in a matter of years. And I don't think they'll be laughing then.
"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy."