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In Theatres: 
Jan 10, 2014
Running Time: 
126 minutes

Love is a strange thing. Oftentimes we can’t control who we fall in love with or in the case of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) what we fall in love with. In the future, the latest computer operating system has the ability to learn and adapt to its environment for a friendlier and more personal user experience. As Theodore begins to fall in love with the voice inside his computer, who has named herself Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the difference between human and artificial intelligence is blurred.

Her is a fantastic and raw journey into the relationship between two people. Yes, I said people. Scarlett Johansson brings “Samantha” to life and manages to create an amazing personality through nothing but her voice. She brilliantly captures an entire range of emotions, from love to anger and even fear, as she evolves through interactions with Theodore. Phoenix does an excellent job as well, and it’s easy to imagine someone there in the room with him in every scene, even though it’s only Johansson’s voice we only hear.

What’s more, Her doesn’t feel like cheesy overplayed romance story. It captures the ups and downs of every relationship and the subtleties that come with it. Theodore and Samantha still have that honeymoon period that every new couple experiences. They experience pure happiness and joy in just being with one another. They have fights and get into arguments. Director Spike Jonze does a wonderful job at minimizing the fact that Samantha is an artificial intelligence and simply creates a heartfelt story about relationships.

The simplicity of Her is what drives the film. Even though it’s set in the future, it feels real in its minimalistic approach. Yes, video games can now be virtually projected throughout the entire room and interact directly with you, but the technology seen in the film doesn’t seem like it could be too far off. It’s less about the sci-fi and more about human relationships.

Her is a smart, funny, and genuine film propelled by stellar performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. In an age where so much communication is done by texting and typing into little devices, the film is a refreshing exploration of the emotion behind the screen. 

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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