Her ★★★★½

We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it.
-Amy

When I first saw the trailer for Her I was intrigued by the premise until the words "from Spike Jones" appeared on the screen and then my intrigue turned into anticipation. The basis for this story put through the Hollywood machine might have been cute depending on the director, maybe even charming if lucky, but chances are it would have been a horrendous rom-com starring Ashton Kutcher with Jennifer Aniston as the voice of Samantha.

Instead of a gimmick movie we get perhaps Spike Jonze's most mature work to date. His direction is subtle and beautiful while his script is intelligent, emotional, charming, hilarious and thought provoking. It's not a knock against his previous films, it's simply a declaration of the greatness of this one.

It's a perfect film for the times as we live in a society that embraces new technology at a ridiculous rate while the majority not only don't understand how it works, but puts forth no thought on the ramifications. Not only would OS1, the AI within an operating system, sell like hotcakes if it was real, people would open up to it just like Theodore Twombly does in the film. We've already become accustomed to our home computers being a safe haven for everything from our secrets, dreams and dark fantasies what would there be to hide if it suddenly gained A.I.?

It would already know how we interact with the outside world through our e-mails, our goals through our work and after it sees our internet history what's the point of hiding anything? Suddenly talking to an A.I. regarding how you feel about your ex-wife doesn't seem so bad when it already knows you have a fetish for Asian bondage lesbian porn. Considering we're already used to our computers being a safe place for anything and everything we want to express, but might not to the outside world, it suddenly having not only intelligence but a personality would be overwhelming especially in a culture that interacts more through computers then with people face to face already. The only difference is that we know there's a human body at the other end of those interactions.

Jonze's film contains all this and much more. The subtle touches throughout the film are just fantastic. Just a small example of the little touches include whenever Theodore is in public places you notice in the background how there is very little human interaction as the majority of people are on their phones or OS devices and this is noticeable before the OS1 is even introduced in the film.

Theodore is of course played by Joaquin Phoenix in a fantastic heartfelt performance with a lot of emotional scenes where he has no one else to play off of. The same can be said of Scarlett Johansson who has the distinction of giving an entire performance through voice alone as she is Samantha, Theodore's OS. Phoenix pulls off making you believe that he has true emotions for an A.I. with no physical form to speak of while Johansson makes you believe that she's gone past being a simple operating system into something much more.

Of course the film goes beyond everything I've said because it is after all written and directed by Spike Jones who has a tendency to think outside the box. Saying that isn't even enough. I don't want to spoil anything, but I just want to mention that Jonze not only brings us thought provoking ideas, but he also knows how best to present them to us as a film maker, an artist and a storyteller.

Siri kinda sucks now.

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