Synopsis: Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely divorcee who develops a relationship with an intelligent operating system, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), which is designed to organise his life.
Stan's thoughts: Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her certainly has his idiosyncrasies. On paper its an odd and not wholly promising premise: A man falls in love with a computer.
However, what you get is something that is an intelligent and, ironically, very human look at relationships. The expectations, disappointments, joy and pain is all played out. The fact that one half of the relationship is an operating system throws up its own set of ironies.
Samantha is not some electronic sounding automaton but sounds and thinks like a human and is therefore subject to similar feelings of love and hurt albeit with a heightened ability to rationalise them. How the relationship pans out raises questions about artificial intelligence and the drive for something that is close to human.
The futuristic world that Jonze has created is not that far removed from our own; telecommunications and virtual technology has advanced a bit but in some ways humans have become lazy about their relationships. Theodore works for a company that writes personal letters for people. While he is very good at his job, has an amazing way with words, he is essentially manipulating other people's relationships when they are too lazy to do so themselves.
There is also irony in the fact that he knows what to say when he is writing as someone else but in his own life never has quite the same eloquence and struggles with the same emotional engagement.
I confess that the trailer for this didn't really pique my interest too much but I'm so glad I gave it a go. It's an odd idea but well executed, interesting and entertaining so go with it.
- Stan's: 75%
- IMDB: 83%
- Metascore: 90%
- Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
- RT audience rating: 85%