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film review: her

why you have to go see spike jonze's futuristic love story.

by: steff yotka

December 18 2013

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I can't tell you how many times I've fallen asleep next to my cell phone, or cursed at my laptop like it was a person, but Theodore Twomby, the Joaquin Phoenix-portrayed protagonist of Spike Jonze's latest masterpiece, Her, probably knows. That's because he's in love with this computer. 

OK, no; He's in love with his operating system, OS1. The program is the first intelligent OS that is personalized to each consumer and can intuit and learn from experience, making it like a best friend. Twomby's is called Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. These are the baseline facts you need to know about Her, and from this description alone the movie can seem sad, melancholic, funny, trite, genius, or even heavy handed. But after watching the film in its entirely, you'll know that you've just seen one of the most thoughtful, well paced, and creative movies of the entire year. 

The distant future that Her inhabits is a washed out, humming one. The film's colors are all faded brights, like burnt sienna for Twombly's favorite shirt (also the color of his phone, and the operating system's load page), canary yellow for the interior of a restaurant date scene, and hazy grey-blue for the sky. Twombly almost always wears his shirt collar tucked inside his shirt and his pants nearly reach his rib cage--needless to say that while technology has progressed tenfold in this future Los Angeles (everyone has an earpiece for their phone, and computers read hand signals instead of taking direction from a keyboard or mouse), fashion might be going backwards. (But don't fret over that; you can get cute clothes inspired by the film at Opening Ceremony!)

Twombly is just the most introverted of an already introverted group of people, and Samantha is his closest friend, even if she doesn't have a body. Jonze cultivates the audience's care for Twomby so expertly, and creates Samantha to be so likable, that for the film's 126 minutes, I was legitimately invested in their relationship. And with supporting roles from Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Amy Adams, the non-computer-based scenes of Her are also awesome. So grab your friends, and your phone, and go see Her this week. 

Her comes out in select theaters today.


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