Her. It’s not just a movie about an unconventional relationship, it gets at the heart of all interpersonal relationships, romantic or not.
Why I Saw It: When I say it’s getting GREAT reviews, we’re talking about a movie that has not only unseated GRAVITY as the top ranked film of 2013, but as I write this, it’s listed atop the all-time rankings at Half Popped Reviews. Perhaps that won’t be the case after my rating weighs in, but it should still be among the top 50 all-time.
Rating: 9.1 out of 10
There’s no doubting the quality of the movie from just about any perspective you’d want to consider it, but the drawback of the film is the “weirdness factor” that some are going to experience with it. Even still, it’s a beautiful look at relationships and an interesting discussion about the role of technology and the growing population of individuals driven to isolationist, anti-social behaviors.
Memorable Performances: The work of Joaquin Phoenix was incredible in this film, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he earns an Academy Award. He takes an awkward premise and makes it completely believable. Amy Adams has a small role, but yet again shows why she’s one of the top actresses of this generation. Rooney Mara, though she has very few scenes where she has audible dialogue, does a great job with her interactions with Joaquin Phoenix and in the flashback sequences. Almost rivaling what Phoenix does is the work of Scarlett Johansson. Though she doesn’t appear in the film, her emotional connection to characters and viewers through her voice-over throughout the film doesn’t suffer in the slightest.
Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:
- Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix
- Best Supporting Actress – Amy Adams
- Best Supporting Actress – Scarlett Johansson
Favorite Parts: The whole movie is so well done, it’s hard to pick its best moments, but here are some of the ones I vividly remember enjoying:
Going to the carnival and having “Samantha” blindly lead Joaquin Phoenix around looked like fun and it was a great way to build up the “relationship” between the two. Any of the scenes including Chris Pratt were high spots in the film, though I wouldn’t necessarily say Pratt’s performance is nomination-worthy (even for Film Quest 2013; certainly NOT for an Academy Award). The scene where Amy Adams is showing Joaquin Phoenix the video game she’s working on was a lot of fun.
The Regrettable Aspects: The “weirdness factor” I mentioned before certainly takes spotlight a couple times in the film, most notably in the surrogate scene. I won’t ruin anything about that here, but it was a sound concept that was well-executed, but it certainly added to the awkwardness many viewers are going to feel while watching it. I also feel like the film should have spent a bit more effort spotlighting the website he works for, and what that represents for its clientele.
Would I watch it again? At some point, I’ll absolutely be watching it again. It was a great film, but I don’t see myself wanting to necessarily own it on home video (my new all-encompassing term for DVD / Blu-ray / download), but it’s something that I find myself wanting to watch again at some point.
To Whom Would I Recommend It? Anyone who isn’t just totally turned off by the notion that a film can explore interpersonal relationships by creating one between a person and a computer should see HER.
– A.I. – Artificial Intelligence – The parallels between these two films are considerable. They both explore how artificially intelligent entities might incorporate emotion and the struggle to understand humanity. They both also deal in how humans experience loss and attempt to fill the void. In the same vane, I’d probably also recommend THE ELECTRIC GRANDMOTHER, but it wasn’t ever released on DVD (though you can find it on YouTube if you look).
– MINORITY REPORT – This is a great look at the potential impacts technology can have on society.
– CASTAWAY – If you can believe that a man can form an emotional attachment to a volleyball, then the mental “stretch” you have to do with HER shouldn’t be a problem for you.
If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to HER, or for other similar films, let me know!