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her

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
December 18, 2013 11:59 PM
3 Comments
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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Spike Jonze is so smart, and his new film so ingenious and relevant, that I wish I liked it more. I was completely captivated at first but after a while I became impatient. I knew where the picture was headed, yet the filmmaker lingered on every story point, long after emptying his bag of tricks. I admire and respect her but I’m sorry to say I grew tired of it.

The setting is the somewhat-creepy near future (as envisioned by talented production designer K.K. Barrett). Joaquin Phoenix delivers a great, tour-de-force performance as a closed-off guy who works for a company that composes personal letters for people who haven’t the time or ability to do it themselves. They want to convey the illusion of caring and he has a way with words, although it doesn’t extend to his real-life relationships.

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Phoenix leads an empty existence, playing holographic video games in his soulless, ultramodern apartment. His love life is barren since the dissolution of his marriage (to Rooney Mara). Even the spark of friendship he maintains with Amy Adams is just barely alive, given her own marital problems and overall ennui.

Into this world comes a new computer operating system personified by a female voice and bearing the name Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). She is so intuitive and natural-sounding that she seems like a real person, and before long Phoenix is treating her as one: she becomes, for all intents, and purposes, his new girlfriend.

You may well ask, “And then what happens?” The answer is, “Nothing much,” or perhaps, “Nothing you can’t see coming a mile away.” For some people (including many critics) this is not a hindrance. The evocative futuristic setting and the compelling premise, along with strong performances, are enough to win them over. I felt that way for the first hour of her until Spike Jonze dropped the ball. It’s enormously frustrating to like a movie so much and then feel shortchanged at the end. 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  • Tom Salagaj | February 7, 2014 11:48 AMReply

    We read the reviews from several critics and went to see Her based on the reviews and the stars we have always liked. What a dull experience. The story did not go anywhere. Such a blah ending. Perhaps it duplicated the dullness and frustration of the main character. It is doubtful this man could ever have a full and satisfying relationship with ANY woman. If the girl at the door, sent by his software lover could not excite him, then how could any other woman do more? Walking out of the movie, my wife and I both felt like we wasted our time and our money. Such a disappointment. We expected so much more.

  • ARIF SHAHDOLI | December 31, 2013 4:38 AMReply

    namaskaar !i read your movie guide .this is historic guide of world cinema.very very Conguruculations.

  • Norm | December 19, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    Spike Jonze...maybe too much hemp dulled the creative sensitivities...

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