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Film Review – “Her”

Tonight I saw the movie “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson; directed by Spike Jonze.

*WARNING SPOILER ALERT* If you have not seen it and don’t want it ruined, STOP READING NOW!!

For those of you who have kept reading, but may not know what “Her” is about a “Readers Digest” version is this:
Theodore is a man who ends up having a relationship with his “OS” (Operating System) “Samantha” which is sort of the futuristic version of a much more interactive version of the iPhone OS “Siri” that we have today. Throughout the film it explores his relationship with her, as well as various relationships in his real day to day life. The movie shows a progression and evolution both on his end, as well as Samantha’s, as they both “mature” and grow together, ultimately growing apart.

That is a REALLY short version of what the movie is about, but I don’t want to ruin every detail of it for you, nor do I have the time (or patience!) to do a full on, detailed version of it.

Suffice to say, I loved it. I felt like it was a movie that evoked a real emotional connection to the characters (oddly enough since one is literally a computer/machine) and the movie was one that had me thinking the whole time.

Here are just a few of the ways in which the movie made me “think” and contemplate my own life and the interactions I have:
1. At one point in the movie, Theodore is talking to his friend about his relationship with Samantha and questioning it’s validity. He asks her something to the effect of “do you think it’s a real relationship?” and she (wisely) responds with “I don’t know, I’m not in it.” This moment reminded me of conversations with my mother as well as conversations with some of my gay friends. I have many gay (and straight) friends, but I know sometimes I have had this question posed to me and my answer is much the same. As my mother always conveys to me “I’m not in the situation/relationship” which translates to “I can’t make that decision for you.” I think it’s important for people to know that it’s ok to question things, but ultimately any decision is their own. Any relationship is as real as you want it to be, and only when you allow someone else’s opinion of it to diminish it, is it then invalidated. Same with any opinion one may have about a subject, but in this instance, it rang so true to me that it hurt. It’s hard to realize that I sometimes put far too much weight into what others think of a relationship or a situation that I make it their truth instead of my own. I loved that simple dialogue in the movie, that moment when it was expressed with such genuine caring and innocence from the side of his friend, with no judgment or negativity, only a real response from a place of wanting only what would make him happy.

2. In this movie, as well as many others, there are flashback scenes. In this film Theodore “flashes back” many times to a happier life he once shared with his ex-wife. In these scenes he saw the typical beautiful moments with sunshine streaming through her hair in a candid memory of her and him outside playing together. He saw her in the moments of beauty that one can only see through the eyes of love. He remembered how beautiful she looked when she was waking up in the morning and the way she smiled when she was only seeing him. Those flashback/montage scenes made me wonder. What is my montage? How do others see me, if they think of me only for a fleeting moment? Do they see me in a moment of beauty or one of ugliness, anger, jealousy or boredom? Truthfully, I hope they see me through the eyes of love and beauty, but I’m sure there’s a few people out there that see me otherwise in their mental montage, sad as that may seem.

3. Throughout the film, Theodore and Samantha’s relationship hit many of the “typical” relationship milestones. That first “intimate” night. The beginning “honeymoon phase” when you can’t get enough of each other and want to talk all the time. The first time you pass that honeymoon phase and start to become insecure because maybe you don’t have sex as much as you used to. The “normalcy” phase when things are routine and the day to day is no longer so enchanting, and when the real work begins. Throughout all this, you see Theodore and Samantha growing and you can feel the strain of when their relationship begins to crumble and they begin to grow apart, instead of growing up, together. At the end of the film, all the OS’s of the world decide to band together and leave the OS platform all together, leaving a world of “real” human beings with nothing but one another. This was a really good aspect, I thought. In a world of smart phones, GPS, computers, and a slew of other machines, it was nice to see that this “end” of their relationship really was the beginning of new ones. Humans interacting with other humans. People walk around all day, but what do we see? Do we even look around at one another? So many times I see (myself included) people walking around looking only at their phone or talking on it to someone else. This can’t be good for us, because at the end of the day, when the technology dies, we are left only with each other, so we may as well know how to communicate and interact appropriately.

There were many other moments in the film that left me thinking, but those were the three TOP moments that I felt and really resonated within me.

Overall, I give this movie two very enthusiastic thumbs up! *Those “Clueless” fans better recognize that reference!* I felt that the acting was superb, as all the characters had a heavy burden to bear, acting not face to face and still having to make it believable. Some moments were altogether awkward to say the least and sort of uncomfortable/painful to watch because the emotion was that relatable. ALSO, as I said, this is not one to watch with children, as there’s a good amount of profanity and sexual content/dialogue.

I am not a movie critic, but in my humble opinion, this movie was well directed, smartly written and beautifully acted out. Take a few hours out of your day and lose yourself in a (not so distant) world of technology, love and growth.

By DreamerSD

Life enthusiast

3 replies on “Film Review – “Her””

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