Film review: Her


I have a new job which started early this month, and it’s pretty much reduced my social life to a minimum. So my time to watch films, listen to music, play video games and review things has suffered too.
*Types in Her, clicks on images * OH GOD… OH….GOD…. there are pictures of Herpes everywhere. Damn you Google!

Her has been nominated for Best Picture alongside films like 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, American Hustle and Gravity. There’s a large degree of variety and diversity between the 9 films in the Best Picture category this year. Her stands out as one of the most unique films on that list, and of any film ever made really.


Her is directed by Spike Jonze, whose directorial filmography includes Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich – which Jonze gained his first Academy Award nomination, for Best Director. This is his latest film in 4 years.

Her is set in the future, although it’s hard to determine just how far into the future it is. Joaquin Phoenix is Theodore, a civic man living in a high-rise tower surrounded by busy people, technology, consumerism and city lights. He walks by an electronic billboard and notices an advert for a new highly advanced OS just realised. This OS, called OS1, has a voice and intuition, and works in-sync with your laptop/computer and mobile phone.
Theodore purchases OS1, installs it on his computer, waits for it to load up and hears a “Hello”. A conversation between Theodore and the voice of the OS, which he finds out is called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johanssen) ensues. They quickly form a bond and start conversing about, well… everyday regular things.


Over a short period of time, their bond becomes stronger and Theodore starts telling his friends and colleagues that he has a ‘girlfriend’. When he tells them that his other half is in fact an OS, most people are totally fine with it, like it’s normal. If it was me, I would be like….. “what in the hell are you talking about?”, which is pretty much Theodore’s soon-to-be ex-wife Catherine’s (Rooney Mara) reaction. Theodore learns that his close friend Amy (Amy Adams) also has the OS and has formed a close bond too, so he’s not totally alone.

When I watched the trailer for Her, way back, I thought that the idea of the film was so weird. We’ve got Siri, and that seems normal to iPhone users now. This is on a whole different level though, and I found it so obscure to watch. I mean, there’s even a “sex” scene. It was a really odd, almost uncomfortable piece of film to endure. How close are we to that ever happening? Isn’t that really scary?!?


The sense and the moral of the story, that I took I perceived from this film wasn’t that of anti-technology, but pro human intimacy. Although the nature of a human + technology relation is entirely alien, there were certain parts of Her that were so beautiful. This is going to sound INCREDIBLY corny, but I was getting ready for work whilst watching Her and there is a scene where Theodore is sat outside somewhere talking to Samantha and she starts playing him a song with the sound of a piano. She explains that she’s created the song because she wishes she could be with him in person, to capture the memory, like a photograph. At that point, I’m not joking, I fell to my knees staring at my Macbook almost crying. I’m not a soppy, emotional person, so I manned up pretty quickly. But not only was the piece remarkable to listen to, the notion of music capturing a moment in time like a photograph. That’s an alarmingly deep sentiment.

Although I couldn’t make up my mind whether I liked the film because the concept is so unusual, I also didn’t dislike it. What I loved was the production design – the use of colour in this film was stunning. The cinematography, the unique screenplay, the soundtrack are all were fantastic.
If you’re a fan of Spike Jonze, and/or are looking for something original and thought-provoking to watch, I recommend Her.



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