Her ★★★★½

dear HER,

i am writing this review in the style of how theodore twombly writes his letters in the movie because i feel like it would be a cute fun heartfelt bit. i hope that is ok.

first of all, i was genuinely so emotionally distraught when the credits started rolling just now that i decided to leave my friend zachary a voicemail but then he actually picked up and we had to have a conversation while i was emotionally distraught. the horror!

HER, you will always hold such a special place in my heart. i've probably watched you about ten times, and it's interesting to think that even though i'm in a different place - emotionally, mentally, physically - every time, you still have such a huge impact on me. i watched you for the first time as a high school senior. you were recommended to me by a boy i was seeing who i wasn't even really that interested in, but after i finished watching, i immediately called him to talk about you, and i remember crying a lot while he quietly listened. then when i was a freshman in college, my final project for my first ever film class was a video essay about your use of color (that beautiful orange-red has a name, by the way: vermilion! but i know you know that) and i watched you probably three consecutive times while producing that project.

HER, i've rewatched you occasionally over the years. i watched with a friend who didn't really fuck with you. i watched with my mom who didn't really care for you. i think i started to convince myself that i was outgrowing you, and if someone had asked me last week what i thought of you, i would've said that i once really loved you but didn't anymore.

but there's so much to say about you! like, are you pretentious? are you melodramatic? i think you're occasionally both of those things. i also sometimes can't tell if your writing is very good or if maybe some of it's good and some of it is Just Fine. but i think this has more to do with me than with you. i've sensed in the past few years that i try to distance myself from content that i perceive as "corny" because i like to believe that i'm very concerned with ~authenticity~ in cinema or whatever, but perhaps i need to let that shit go a little bit! yes, you're occasionally pretty corny, but what about it! you're still really really good.

HER, this is one of joaquin phoenix's best performances, if not his best performance. (yes i've seen JOKER. i get it. his whole thing is dancing in slow motion in dimly lit bathrooms. like, i'm tired.) it's pretty wild that he was literally acting by himself. just talking to himself and making those nuanced facial expressions all on his own. wow. and i hate to say it but scarlett johansson's performance is also really beautiful. i just watched BLUE VELVET last night and felt like young laura dern's voice had a really gentle soft asmr quality and i feel the same way about scarlett's voice here.

something new hits me every time i watch, and this time it was amy adams' performance and her character's relationship with theodore. she gets some of the best lines (and some of the cheesiest, but again, i'm letting that shit go), and i love watching how much she and theodore love each other - platonically! i really like those scenes where they just sit and talk. i don't know why it feels so achingly emotional to watch two people quietly sit and talk about love, but then again, we are in a pandemic and all i've wanted to do is sit less than six feet away from my friends.

HER, you make me feel deep deep stuff and i am now sitting here thinking about the spaces that samantha talks about, the spaces that transcend the physical world. i'm thinking about how samantha shows theodore and charles footage from her documentary, and it's just a clip of her mom sleeping, and in an effort to explain, she says that it's about "how we spend most of our lives asleep. and maybe that's the time when we feel the most free." is that not also a space that transcends the physical? is that not what theodore and samantha's relationship kinda feels like?

maybe i'm reaching but i'm thinking about the immaterial and the ethereal today. i am thinking about the spaces that exist between me and people i love when i call them on the phone and we just kinda breathe at each other and consider how sad we both are. i am thinking about the lag that happens when i'm on a zoom call or a facetime call and it's just a little pause that keeps us more apart than we should be. i am very sad and lonely these days but also thinking a lot about stuff! and that is okay.

HER, i want so badly to give you five stars but i don't think you're a perfect movie so i don't feel like i can. maybe one day though.


letterboxd user geej

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