HER_QUAD_AW low res
Directed by Spike Jonze
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde and Scarlett Johansson
In UK Cinemas February 14th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

In spite of the tone that this review may take, I am a huge fan of Spike Jonze films, Being John Malkovich being one of my favourite films of all time.  I was disappointed with Where the Wild Things Are, but even more disappointed by his latest film Her.  I never personally grew up with Where the Wild Things Are, therefore had no emotional involvement or hopes for it as a film.  For Her, I had very high hopes, most of which were shattered by the throwaway nature of Jonze’s latest film Her.

First of all, people need to stop casting Joaquin Phoenix in lead roles.  Unless it is a foreign film of course, as without subtitles, he is completely unintelligible.  Second of all, I may not have a crystal ball, but I can’t imagine the future is as hipster as Jonze makes it out to be in his futuristic sci fi universe of Her.  Does everyone in the future really need a moustache, horn-rimmed glasses, foppish hair and a mid-century modern sense of design!?  No, but what we all do need is an operating system to fall in love with, and in Her, it comes in the form of OS Scarlett Johansson.

The film focuses on Joaquin’s character Theodore Twombly who is a greeting card writer.  He upgrades to the latest and greatest operating system for all of his computer needs and eventually falls in love with the voice of Samantha.  They develop a real relationship and this film goes on to explore the idea of how technology isolates rather than connects us within our own society.

The film has a glossy hipster sci fi visual style, emphasized by a hipster musical score from Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett which is most deserving of its Best Score Oscar nomination.  The film is unfortunately plagued by too many odd quirks, ideas and missteps.  While for the most part it is a very pleasant movie to watch, it is vacuous beyond its attempt at deeper meaning and leaves the audience unfulfilled.  In spite of its surprising Best Picture Oscar nomination which saw the likes of superior film Inside Llewyn Davis being shut out, Her has managed to disappoint some true Spike Jonze fans while gaining him new ones in the form of critics.

A film for any Spike Jonze fan to see and judge for themselves, but Her is not the same calibre as his previous work including Adaptation and Being John Malkovich.

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