her - 8 stars out of 10
“her” is a one-of-a-kind film. The concept of friendships and relationships with artificial intelligences is strange and yet, it seems to be an inevitable part of our future. While the film takes place in 2025, the setting is so similar to the present that it feels like this new operating system could already be out there. The title itself speaks volumes about the film. The trailers portray a love story between a man and his computer, but this story actually focuses on “her,” an artificial personality whose mind is able to grow and develop like a human. Samantha’s story redefines our concept of “personality” as it blurs the line between humanity and technology. We develop empathy for Samantha as if she is a person and this film chronicles her struggle to make sense of her identity as she deals with the restrictions of a normal human life. The acting is very good, especially when you consider that most of Joaquin Phoenix ‘s interactions took place with a phone whose voice was probably not added until post-production. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson’s voice acting puts so much life into her character that it is hard to remember that her character is not alive. And that is why the film is so successful! It manages to give humanity to this computer and make “her” a lot more desirable than many of the humans in the film. There are a few awkward sexual moments, but they are necessary to the story. Thankfully, it consumed a lot less of the film than I anticipated. The story is a lot more than cybersex as it challenges the physical requirements for companionship. Although I preferred the realism created by the scripts of “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Nebraska,” I can understand why this clever script won the Oscar. Its creative look at our social future paints a picture of artificial intelligence finding its place in the human world and its ability to operate beyond the restrictions of a traditional relationship. I believe that we will look back at this concept in 10 years and be surprised with the accuracy of this prediction. While the majority of the film is depressing, carefully timed comedy (like the dead kitten beside the bed) and sentimental conversations prevent us from hating the story. The ending is far beyond anything that I anticipated. When it was billed as a “Spike Jonze Love Story,” it left me unprepared for the dark conclusion that looms over the end of the film. I mean, I definitely agree with the ending, but I can’t imagine anybody being happy with this inevitability. “her” is one of those movies that reaches a small percentage of audiences but leaves a large impression. Just be ready to have your perceptions of relationships and humanity when you sit down with this one.