Her - Movie Review
Bizarre, beautiful and a little bit... creepy
When I first watched Her, in 2013, I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen. It was a strange yet intriguing story about Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix), who is a writer that works on creating "hand written letters" for a company in Los Angeles. He is a young, but lonely man, who eventually falls in love with an "operating system" (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), named Samantha (similar to that of Alexa), in a not too distant future. This future is fascinating, it's not too sci-fi for it too feel unbelievable, as you can easily imagine everything in this movie becoming a reality. It reminds me of the futures seen in episodes of Black Mirror, where the technological improvements are only minor and the fashion isn't too silly, or unusual to be laughed at. There seems to be a very subtle 1950s retro futurism vibe throughout, where the characters clothes wouldn't look too out of place, even in 2022. Overall; the film has a very pleasing and clean appearance, where the sci-fi isn't too ridiculous, Her feels very realistic and believable, despite being set in "the future".
This is what makes the film's premise so fascinating. The idea of a virtual girlfriend who is just a mobile app on your phone, doesn't seem like too far fetched of an idea, considering the modern times we are living in. As time goes on, we do seem to self-isolate and spend more time staring into our phone screens. I've lately found work breaks to be very awkward, as everyone sits around in silence, more interested in social media on their devices, rather than genuine conversation. It's a bit scary actually, how everyone is slowly becoming more and more remote. Her is a movie that perfectly captures the slippery slope that this entails. The more Theodore spends with Samantha and not real women, the more isolated he becomes. Soon enough, other characters begin to take notice over how strange he is behaving and there are plenty of scenes with him running around talking to himself (speaking to Samantha through an ear piece) looking like a lunatic.
The character of Samantha adapts as the film progresses. When we first meet her, she is a fish out of water. Completely new to the world, yet highly intelligent; she has a lot to learn, but is more than excited to discover herself and Theodore is there to deliver. The relationship starts off genuinely sweet, he is lonely and she desires his attention and affection. It actually seems like a nice situation to begin with; somebody who will always listen and give you good advice, it is wonderful, whether or not Samantha is a real person or not. However as Samantha's AI evolves, she slowly becomes less and less human and more machine. Eventually she begins to believe that her "form" is better than being a person, for her intelligence is infinite and that she is not bound by human inferiority. Instead of taking photos to remember their relationship, she instead makes songs, which at first sounds sweet. However things felt weird around the halfway mark when we have scenes of Theodore and Samantha both singing their songs and dancing together; however these scenes are very strange because it's just him singing to a mobile phone and laughing at the air, like I said before; he looks a bit insane.
In the end, we learn that Samantha has been talking to millions of other lonely men as well as Theodore, all at the same time too. We both feel cheated (the audience and Theodore) as we feel as though their whole relationship had been a bit of a sham. Like Samantha was just some product designed to entertain lonely men, like himself. Their relationship doesn't feel special any more and it ends up just feeling dirty. It is a hallowing scene when Theodore finds this out and Joaquin's acting is perfect. In the end; Samantha claims that he was her "true" and only real love, and wants to talk to him one and one, before "ascending towards a higher level of existence" (here is that creepy "more machine than human" vibe I was talking about). However we can't help but feel as though this exchange is fake and that she is only saying this to ease his pain. In the end; Theodore still gets his happy ending, as he ends up with the character of Amy (funnily enough, played by Amy Adams), who is a recurring character throughout the movie, who admittedly, was quite obviously the real love interest of this story all along.
So, that's Her. A very romantic, beautiful, yet also very eerie movie. It works on so many levels; a genuinely nice/cute romance, a dark sci-fi about the future and a heartbreaking tragedy about a lonely man in a cruel world of manipulative technology. It's like Black Mirror, but a little less morbid and more lighthearted. It's almost perfect, but some parts felt embarrassing by accident. It's hard to tell if some of the romance scenes are meant to be weird or genuinely romantic, as even a lot of the Theodore talking to himself scenes have romantic music in the background, which suggests that these aren't meant to be creepy, but unfortunately do come across that way. However, even if this is unintentional, it's still fun to dissect and wonder what was truly intended. Because of this though I feel like Her is a 8/10 movie, rather than a perfect 10.
If you're interested in dark stories about future technology, or want a romantic movie with a bizarre twist, Her is a movie you must watch!
About the author
My name is Joseph Roy Wright, the British author of 5 Independent novels!
I like to write about movies, pop culture, fiction and horror! I review all the latest films (and classics), I also like to write short stories.