Lee Towler’s review published on Letterboxd:
My expectations were incredibly high for Her, I have loved every one of Spike Jonze's films. Being John Malkovich and Adaptation both being written by the amazing Charlie Kaufman, but brought to fruition by Jonze's spectacular vision. Where The Wild Things Are was co-written by Jonze, but it didn't have a particularly spectacular script although another masterful and emotionally layered piece from Jonze. So from his current line up it's pretty obvious Spike Jonze is a man with a vision, he's an artist that knows what he wants, and he knows how to make it near perfect. So here we are with Her, which is definitely my favourite movie of 2013, and probably one of my favourite movies ever.
What I love about Her in particular is that it never forces its messages down your throat, instead of telling you it just lays them out for you. It presents itself to you in such a delicate fashion. Set in the near future, which was captured perfectly and quite believably. It shows current technology adapted to be more advanced and perfected. Samantha is essentially just a really advanced Siri, there's a virtual reality video game that Theodore plays which is once again just built upon current technology. Even the fashion is just slightly different enough that you can believe that this is what people might dress like, as it's a reflection of older fashions. This really helps immerse you in the world of Her. It makes it real. And with one of the messages that it presents to you is human kinds attachment to technology. While most people would have forced the message by just having every single person glued to their devices you are instead just shown some people attached to electronics, but there are some people who are just walking in the background without any technology. This is one of the examples of how Her never generalises and assumes, it never pushes anything on the viewer and is very laid back in displaying Jonze's opinions while still having strong messages.
What else helps ease along the ride are the subtle yet strong performances, particularly from Joaquin Phoenix. Even from Scarlett Johansson, even though it's just her voice, the emotion is so strong just from her vocals. It's some of the greatest voice talents I've ever heard, particularly because there isn't even a character to associate it with. It's weird how it works but Samantha feels like a real person because of it, which is what the movie is about. It is about Theodore believing and his feelings growing stronger towards Samantha even though she isn't really real. And the viewing is going to be strung along with that belief, which once again just displays the message for the viewer to interpret on their own rather than being straight up told "you're getting attached to a programme". Samantha is charismatic, funny, emotional, animated, cute, rude without you even seeing her, due to the fact that she is adapted to be a perfect match with Theodore, because he is the same things. But it's also surprising how strongly I could also relate to how attached to the non-existent character much in the same way as Theodore.
Everything is so delicately handled, the computer imagery is subtly beautiful, the cinematography and lighting are soft and writing poignant and witty. It all winds so well together. Also, moving back to solid performances there are also some great side performances from Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde. Actually everyone in this movie is so strong and believable.
I believed in it all. I related to Theodore, I was immersed in the world of Her. This is a beautiful movie, this is art at it's finest. It's a love story between a human and a programme, and it is stronger than some love stories between two humans. Thank you, Spike Jonze. 2013 has not been a great year for movies, but you have assured me not only for this year, but for film in general that this form of media is still an art. And Her is art.