Spike Jonze is a director with a very unique style. And while I have always admired his technical skills, his films always seen to miss the mark for me personally. Being John Malkovich was a weird but fun flick, although not quite the classic it is made out to be, Adaptation I felt pretty much the same about, and Where the Wild Things, while I was very much anticipating it, felt uneventful for me. So the question is how would I feel about Her, his new film starring Joaquin Phoenix, which was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, won for Best Original Screenplay, and made many critics top lists for the year?
In the undetermined future, Theodore (Phoenix) is having a rough time dealing with his divorce. He writes letters for a living and lives an ordinary life of small pleasures and hanging out with friends. When he purchases a new operating system for his computer that claims to be the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, he could never anticipate how it would change his life. Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) is his OS and very quickly she and Theodore find themselves getting along well. But when the relationship becomes more intimate and personal, Theodore falls for Samantha and finds himself dealing with a new relationship full of more joy and doubt than he has ever experienced.
Let me start by saying Joaquin Phoenix is wonderful. To flesh out a role as complex as this, often essentially acting by himself, he is a sight to behold and fully deserving of the praise heaped upon him. But in typical Spike Jonze fashion the film overall left something to be desired. The story was interesting, the little technical details of a possible future were cool and realistic, but the arc of the story just didn’t do for me what I was hoping it would. Regardless, Her is an entertaining film with a great performance by Phoenix and a great voice performance by Johansson. I can’t even pin down my issue with the film aside from saying when it was over I was left a little cold by it.
The Blu-ray from Warner Home Video is a top notch transfer with crystal clarity and fine detail throughout. Her will not be for everyone but is worth checking out for the performances and to have something a little different in your viewing lineup.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.