Film Review: Her

Her

Spike Jonze’s achingly contemporary drama Her is a both a cautionary tale of the reliance on technology and a study of human fragility.

Theodore Twombly is a professional letter writer who spends most of his free time online. In the final stages of his divorce, lonely Theodore decides to purchase what has been advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system. This leads to a surprising connection…

Her is an interesting combination of science fiction and romantic drama. The events that unfold are almost horrifying at times, yet the film also demands empathy from its viewers. The protagonist at the centre is very human, even if some of his interactions are not.

The setting of Her is both familiar and removed. The film is set not so far in the future that it is unrecognisable, yet there is an artificiality that matches the theme. Bathed in artificial lighting, the visuals frequently assume the unreal quality of the relationship. There is a noticeable difference in the lighting from the flashbacks and scenes with other women to the ones that concentrate on Samantha.

Despite an aesthetic of disengagement, it is not too difficult to empathise with Theodore. It is understandable why he would engage in a relationship with his artificially intelligent operating system, given what is illustrated about his lifestyle, history and what he gains from the arrangement. The fact that Theodore is talented, flawed and craving personal attention makes him a more realistic character.

Her speaks about the ubiquitousness of loneliness, albeit at a localised level. The links between the use of technology today and the possible outcomes are clearly signposted. What is most macabre is not just the dependency of technology, but the fallacy of it. With its allusions to contemporary uses of the internet, Her accentuates the how absurd our relationship with technology is by offering something that seems extreme, but is not so far removed. As a salve to isolation and loneliness, technology here is depicted as both attractive and unreliable. Solutions or alternatives are suggested but perspicaciously come with their own drawbacks.

Joaquin Phoenix portrays Theodore in a most sincere manner. There is an element of melancholy to his performance. He is ably supported by Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson.

Writer-director Spike Jonze has created a film that reveals human experience through the guise of technological advancement. Her is a rich, interesting, and thought-provoking film.

Stuff To Look At

With the Oscar nominations being announced this week, here are glimpses of some of the nominees, plus upcoming features…

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s latest film The Grand Budapest Hotel boasts an enviable cast headed by Ralph Fiennes and featuring some frequent Anderson collaborators such as Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Tilda Swinton. As the above clip illustrates, the film concerns the adventures of hotel  concierge Gustave and new lobby boy Zero. The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in UK cinemas on 7th March 2014.

RoboCop

Above is a OmniFoundation public service announcement. It will be interesting to see if this new version is as scathing in its criticism of corporate power and corruption as the original. After all, it would be timely. RoboCop is hits UK screens on 7th February 2014.

Her

Spike Jonze’s Her has received five nominations at this year’s Oscars; perhaps not as many as fans were expecting. I am really looking forward to seeing the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. Her is released in the UK on 14th February 2014.

Bad Neighbours

Zac Efron plays a college student and nightmare neighbour in upcoming comedy Bad Neighbours. The film has a likeable enough cast; if the jokes are frequent and amusing it should be entertaining fare. Bad Neighbours is out in cinemas on 9th May 2014.

Under The Skin

Under The Skin has been a source of interest at the festivals where it has been screened; the film gets a cinematic release on 14th March 2014. Starring Scarlell Johansson, Under The Skin is science fiction thriller.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Look at this exciting new poster for The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker for the second installment of the reboot, facing a plethora of villains. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out in UK cinemas on 18th April 2014.

The Monuments Men

Matt Damon and George Clooney reunite in the above clip from The Monuments Men. I’m not going to lie, I am most looking forward to seeing Bill Murray in this. The Monuments Men is hits UK cinemas on 14th February 2014.

Lone Survivor

Marky Mark stars as a soldier in Afghanistan in Lone Survivor. The film is directed by Peter Berg of Battleship fame, so expect a lot of military talk. Lone Survivor is out in UK cinemas on 31st January 2014.

Muppets Most Wanted

This above advert for Muppets Most Wanted, which was screened during the Golden Globes last Sunday, is fantastic. Marketing for The Muppets was brilliant, and Disney look to continue the trend for its sequel. Muppets Most Wanted hits the big screen on 28th March 2014.