In his most original work yet, Spike Jonze proved himself to be a master at transforming genres, and from his romantic science fiction dramedy comes a beautiful work of art that truly felt like the gem of the year. Her doesn’t only send a message, it sends an invitation for us to communicate and connect.
In a not-so-distant future, where everyone is connected to their computer, we find a lonely and depressed man, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), seeking something that would bring joy back to his life. And when he gets the new OS system and meets Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), he starts to develop feelings he’d never felt before and his world gets turned upside down. He doesn’t feel he’s alone anymore.
What begins like a surrealist irony mocking our relying on technology ends up feeling like the realest movie I’ve seen in years. In the most colorful piece of art and within a 126 minutes runtime, Spike Jonze creates, debates, and connects – He even made me laugh like a lunatic at points-. Theodore is the most developed character I’ve seen in ages, and Joaquin’s heartwarming and crucially delightful performance gave that character life.
Her isn’t just the story of Theodore’s complexity, it’s Spike Jonze discussing the issue of the man/machine relationship, in a similar but far more optimistic way than Kubrick’s HAL9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey). We will one day, if we aren’t already, become completely dependent of the machines we create, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll destroy us.
Ultimately, to give his debate a reason, our director drew us in. You never see Samantha, she’s inside Theodore’s head. But the thing is, she’s also inside yours. Sometimes, Jonze uses complete blackness to help us imagine Samantha. Others, he uses a mix of beautiful sound and colorful pictures. She’s an operating system, but she’s more real than most characters you find, and probably will find, in movies. Another thing worth mentioning is how good Scarlett Johansson was, for her voice portrayed Samantha perfectly. Thus, with Samantha and the not-so-distant tomorrow, we felt we were living the movie, and that’s Spike Jonze’s checkmate. He no longer needed to say anything, it was our turn to build our own opinion on the matter.
My review may not have done justice to the most complex and visually wonderful movie I’ve seen in a while, but what I can say to end it is this: science fiction has been dominated by space westerns for so long this Spike Jonze masterpiece gave me hope real filmmaking still has a future.