Her reviews

User avatar
Posts: 1167
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:27 am
Location: Greece

Re: Her reviews

Postby Cinemanolis » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:25 pm

About the soundtrack, did Arcade Fire do all of it. For example the music that Samantha writes (in the photograph and the beach scenes) are also by Arcade Fire? It would surprise me. Karen O and Owen Pallett are also credited but who did these 2 pieces?

User avatar
Johnny Guitar
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2003 5:14 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Her reviews

Postby Johnny Guitar » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:26 pm

Part of the (very limited) genius of this movie is how simply Spike Jonze just tweaked very, very, very conventional rom-com or full-on romance movie with a high concept twist. Even if you hate the film or think it's shallow, it's hard to deny that basic flourish of a premise. It's bold and yet obvious; makes you think, “of course, why hasn't somebody already made a movie like this!?” Joaquin Phoenix is terrific, as usual. And there are a handful of scenes that really do require a leap of faith, and represent risk on Jonze's part … particularly if the movie is playing in a public screening, and not at home in front of one rapt viewer. Because during something like the cybersex scene, intimacy and vulnerability are the name of the game, and one inopportune, unconvinced guffaw from an audience member might ruin the spell. So that's what the film does well. Even so, the whole thing is pretty standard potboiler romance, high concept or not. There's something too sleek and slick, too myopic about Jonze in general for me. I don't think I've really loved a Jonze/Gondry/Kaufman thing that I've seen since Being John Malkovich (which I haven't seen since it was new, and am now scared to revisit). Not that I've seen them all. But it's one strain of contemporary cinema that just doesn't connect with me very much. So ... good film, but I'm left scratching my head over pronouncements like those of David Edelstein ("best film in years").

User avatar
Posts: 5909
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Re: Her reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:19 am

ksrymy wrote:Ed Gonzalez gave this a very rare, four-star review.

You know that he occasionally posts here as "The Apostle" don't you?
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8163
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am

Re: Her reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:54 am

I just got back from a pretty exhausting trip back home and stopped off to see Her at the Hollywood Arclight. Whatever grievances I might have about whether it has anything to truly say about this kind of relationship is supplanted by what a gorgeous vision of the not-too distant future Spike Jonze's film is. I think five minutes could be shaved, but this is the most beautiful production of the year.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

Posts: 1156
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:10 am
Location: Wichita, KS

Re: Her reviews

Postby ksrymy » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:33 am

Ed Gonzalez gave this a very rare, four-star review.
"Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Mister Tee
Posts: 7147
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC

Her reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:39 pm

Hollywood Reporter (Variety below)

Her: Film Review

5:00 PM PDT 10/12/2013 by Todd McCarthy
The Bottom Line
An arresting cross-species love story set in the very near future.

Visionary and traditional, wispy and soulful, tender and cool, Spike Jonze's Her ponders the nature of love in the encroaching virtual world and dares to ask the question of what might be preferable, a romantic relationship with a human being or an electronic one that can be designed to provide more intimacy and satisfaction than real people can reliably manage. Taking place tomorrow or perhaps the day after that, this is a probing, inquisitive work of a very high order, although it goes a bit slack in the final third and concludes rather conventionally compared to much that has come before. A film that stands apart from anything else on the horizon in many ways, it will generate an ardent following, which Warner Bros. can only hope will be vocal and excitable enough to make this a must-see for anyone who pretends to be interested in something different.

In terms of ethereal tone, offbeat romanticism and evanescent stylistic flourishes, the film that bears some comparison to Her is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which dealt with the search for love, its memory or its prospect, in a similarly fleeting, lightly heartbreaking manner. The theme and dramatic drive behind Jonze's original screenplay, the search for love and the need to “only connect,” is as old as time, but he embraces it in a speculative way that feels very pertinent to the moment and captures the emotional malaise of a future just an intriguing step or two ahead of contemporary reality.

Set in a downtown Los Angeles as thick with highrises as Manhattan, as modernistic as Shanghai and populated exclusively with citizens both gainfully employed and well dressed (an optimistic, if unplanned antidote to the recent Elysium), the film focuses intently upon Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), who is very good at his job, that of writing eloquent, moving, heartfelt letters for others who aren't up to the task; he's a sort of Cyrano for all seasons. With his glasses, mustache and high-hitched trousers with no belt (the era's one bad fashion fad), he's a bit of a neatnik and a nerd, but acutely attuned to people's inner feelings.

As it will for two hours, the camera stays very close to this well-mannered, proper fellow, who goes home to his upper-floor apartment to play a life-sized 3D video game featuring a foul-mouthed cartoon character who insults him, in all a poor substitute for his wife (Rooney Mara), who's divorcing him. Quick and funny anonymous phone sex follows, but Theodore then explores a new electronic offering, an operating system (OS1) that absorbs information and adapts so fast that the resulting conversation matches anything real life can offer. Or -- and this is the part that's both seductive and unnerving -- it might be even better.

The OS Theodore prescribes calls itself Samantha. With a vivacious female voice that breaks attractively but also has an inviting deeper register, “she” explains that she has intuition, is constantly evolving and can converse so well because she has total recall and instantaneous adaptability. Samantha laughs, makes jokes, commiserates, advises and even proof-reads one of his letters. Based on their (programmed) rapport, Samantha very quickly defines what Theodore is looking for in a woman, even if he'll never know what the viewer knows, that this inviting voice belongs to Scarlett Johansson.

The man's complicity with this new confidant is only increased after an intense, and intensely disappointing, blind date with a stunning and initially flirtatious young lady (a vital Olivia Wilde). Not only is Samantha endlessly cooperative and (literally) interactive, but her emotions seemingly escalate at the same pace as his own.

Even up to this point, less than an hour in, the film provokes many questions and musings. Can an artificial being who's “made for you” provide greater fulfillment than a flesh-and-blood human of more erratic capacities? Is it not ideal to have someone there for you whenever you want and then not when you prefer to be alone? Does a strictly verbal relationship sustain a desirable level of fantasy while holding reality at bay? Does a virtual romance have equal value to a real one? Because Theodore and Samantha get along so well, do we, as an audience, root for this relationship to “work out?” Isn't this electronic rapport a lot better than Ryan Gosling's relationship with an inflatable doll in Lars and the Real Girl? Does virtual marriage constitute the next legislative frontier?

Where Jonze goes with his intriguing exploration in the second half is both sobering and a tad soft. It's also the place where you realize that Phoenix's Theodore is at the center of every scene and, due to the fact that his confidant doesn't corporeally exist, is often the only one onscreen for extended periods. This fact has compelled the director to get Theodore out of the house, so to speak, and keep him on the move, which is what provides the film with the measure of forward momentum it possesses. All Theodore needs to talk to Samantha is a small earpiece, so he often converses while walking through the city (only in the most fabulously scenic sections), on the subway, by the beach, later on a fast train (in what must have been the credited Chinese part of the shoot) and hiking through a forest. When he is surrounded by other solitaires engaged in deep conversation, Her resembles nothing so much as the final scenes of the film version of Fahrenheit 451, in which society's rebels promenade about while devotedly reciting from banned books they've memorized.

Although the final stretch is devoted to the resolution of Theodore and Samantha's intimate relationship, the dramatic limitations of the film's presentational one-sidedness become rather too noticeable as the two-hour mark approaches. The director's visual panache, live-wire technical skills and beguilingly offbeat musical instincts work overtime to paper over what can only be conveyed in extended conversation (not collaborating with cinematographer Lance Accord for the first time, Jonze benefits from great work behind the camera by Hoyte van Hoytema, while the score by Arcade Fire casts a spell of its own). The feeling at the end is that of a provocative if fragile concept extended somewhat beyond its natural breaking point.

In a tender about-face from his fearsome performance in The Master, Phoenix here is enchantingly open, vulnerable, sweet-natured and yearning for emotional completion. Accoutered to look both goofy and cool, he's nonetheless appealing and the actor exhibits an unprecedented openness that is entirely winning. Passages in Jonze's writing really grapple with what people want out of love and relationships and Phoenix, with Johansson piping in on the other end of the line, makes it all feel spontaneous and urgent.

Amy Adams is on the same emotional page as a longtime friend of Theodore who, rather too conveniently, is also going through a romantic separation.

The film is beguilingly sincere and touching in how it approaches loneliness and the compulsion to overcome it, and it asks the relevant question of whether technology fosters distance from others, helps surmount it, or both. It also inquires into the different sorts of satisfactions, and lack of same, offered by human beings and machines in an age we've already entered.


Spike Jonze's fourth feature offers a singular, wryly funny and subtly profound consideration of our relationship to technology.

Chief Film Critic
Scott Foundas
Chief Film Critic@foundasonfilm

Move over, HAL 9000. Take a hike, Skynet. After decades of being typecast as an agent of destruction or (at best) the harbinger of dystopian things to come, artificial intelligence gets a romantic lead in “Her,” Spike Jonze’s singular, wryly funny, subtly profound consideration of our relationship to technology — and to each other. A truly 21st-century love story, Jonze’s fourth directorial feature (and first made from his own original screenplay) may not be Middle America’s idea of prime date-night viewing, but its funky, deeply romantic charms should click with the hip urban audiences who embraced Jonze’s earlier work, with some cross-pollination to the sci-fi/fantasy crowd.

Not least among Jonze’s achievements here is his beautifully imagined yet highly plausible vision of a near-future Los Angeles (exact year unspecified), where subways and elevated trains have finally supplanted the automobile, and where a vast urban center crowded with skyscrapers sprawls out from downtown in every direction (a clever amalgam of location shooting in L.A. and Pudong, China). Just a few months after “Elysium” foretold an Angel City beset by enviro-pocalypse and class warfare, Jonze cuts the other way, envisaging a society where green living has triumphed and most of the world’s (or at least America’s) social maladies seem to have been remedied — save, that is, for an epidemic of loneliness.

This is how we first find Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a former alt-weekly writer who now plies his trade as a latter-day Cyrano de Bergerac, penning other people’s love letters as a worker bee for the online service BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com. (The actual “handwriting” is generated by computer, a lovely metaphor for our lingering analog affections in the digital era). Laid low by a recent separation from his wife (Rooney Mara, seen mostly in staccato flashbacks), the divorce papers all but final, Theodore drifts about in a depressive haze, more adept at channeling strangers’ feelings than his own. Until, that is, he meets Samantha.

Heralded as the world’s fist A.I. operating system (“It’s not just an OS — it’s a consciousness”), Samantha (aka OS1) enters Theodore’s life rather by chance, and over time, like so much technology, makes him wonder how he ever lived without it. But then, Samantha is no ordinary OS: It has a voice (Scarlett Johansson, who replaced Samantha Morton during post-production), an attitude, and a curiosity that seems, well, almost human. And therein lies Jonze’s masterstroke. Whereas the very notion of a man falling in love with a machine would have once seemed the stuff of high fantasy or farce, in “Her” it feels like just the slightest exaggeration of how we live now, in a blur of the real and virtual — “dating” online, texting instead of talking, changing our “status” with the click of a mouse. A generation on from the fugitive android lovers of “Blade Runner,” no one in “Her” has anything to hide.

Lack of physical presence notwithstanding, Samantha at first seems close to the male fantasy of the perfect woman: motherly and nurturing, always capable of giving her undivided attention, and (best of all) requiring nothing in return. But what begins like an arrested adolescent dream soon blossoms into Jonze’s richest and most emotionally mature work to date, burrowing deep into the give and take of relationships, the dawning of middle-aged ennui, and that eternal dilemma shared by both man and machine: the struggle to know one’s own true self.

The courtship scenes between Theodore and Samantha (including a freewheeling day trip to Venice Beach) are among the movie’s most disarming, with Phoenix disappearing as deeply under the skin of Jonze’s wounded, sensitive alter-ego as he did the roiling caged beast of “The Master.” (Shy of Daniel Day-Lewis, he may be the most chameleonic actor in movies today.) But it’s Johansson who pulls off the trickiest feat: She creates a complex, full-bodied character without any body at all. Detached from her lethally curvaceous figure, the actress’ breathy contralto is no less seductive, but it also alights with tenderness and wonder as Samantha, both here on Earth and up there in the Cloud, voraciously devours literature, philosophy and human experience.

Indeed, in Jonze’s radical retelling of the “Pinocchio” story (by way of 1984’s techno-romance “Electric Dreams,”), Samantha’s great existential crisis isn’t that she yearns to be a real, flesh-and-blood human. Rather, it’s her dawning realization that humanity may only be one station on a greater and more fulfilling journey through the cosmos — Kubrick’s Star Child come of age at last. How ever can an average Joe like Theodore hope to compete with that?

Jonze fleshes out Theodore’s world ever so slightly, with Chris Pratt as an affable office manager and Amy Adams as an old college chum and erstwhile paramour. But mostly “Her” is a two-(terabyte?)-hander of bracing intimacy, acutely capturing the feel of an intense affair in which the rest of the world seems to pass by at a distance. And where so many sci-fi movies overburden us with elaborate explanations of the new world order, “Her” keeps things airy and porous, feathering in a few concrete details (a news report mentions an impending merger between India and China) while leaving much to the viewer’s imagination.

Working for the fourth time with production designer KK Barrett and costume designer Casey Storm, Jonze hasn’t just made a movie about how we might love in the years to come, but where we might live (in sleek high-rises decked out in leather, hardwood and modern furniture), what we might wear (beltless wool trousers seem to be all the rage for men) and where we might eat (in pretentious Asian fusion bistros, because some things never change). And through it all, we will still strive — in the words of one of the world’s telecommunications giants — to reach out and touch someone.

Return to “2013”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest