Love Technology Style: HER

Friday, January 10, 2014


Every year there's that film that critics decide to laud and it gets agreed upon this is the one to tell audiences to see - this year that movie is "her", a film by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are) a filmmaker who seems to be in the inner circle when it comes to praise, even from the harshest critics.

I suppose I sound like I'm about to disagree with their choice - ummm..., well, no. I wouldn't disagree with the fact that Her is very creative with an interesting concept and opens up good dialogue for social commentary, and that Spike Jonze pulls it all off with a singular vision.  Would I say it was the best movie I saw for 2013? (Wide release Jan 2014, however, it's up for 2013 Awards season).  No.  For me that honor is a toss up between Blue Jasmine, Rush and 12 Years A Slave.

All the men in this future wear geeky high-waisted pants and carry man-bags
The film's main character is Theodore Twombly, he's like a really dorky version of Tom Selleck, but played by Joaquin Phoenix, however, for the life of me, I can't see Joaquin inside this guy's face; I mean it's more than a simple trick of glasses, hairstyle and a mustache, he truly looks and feels different.  Anyway, the movie takes place in a not too distant future, but the exact date is never given.  It's a time when the now, nearly lost art of letter writing gets revived, but not by people going back to putting ink to paper and sealing it with a kiss, rather you can hire someone - Theodore - to write a letter for you based on your profile and the person you wish to correspond with; only it's never actually hand written, the computer creates a script font from the "letter writers" words spoken into a dictaphone.  It's all very personalized and impersonal at the same time.


Theodore's wife (Rooney Mara) has recently left him and he's kinda just going through the motions of life at this point. He lives in the same building as a college friend (Amy Adams) who having marital issues and he plays a lot of video games, by the way, the little foul mouth alien boy that's part of the interactive game is a hoot!

The world has become even more commercial, and the city where Theodore lives, in someways resembles Tokyo or Hong Kong - busy and colorful with many views of lit cityscapes. So being sold a new operating system in the lobby of your office building, buying it on the spot and loading it into your computer as soon as you get home, is not out of the ordinary.


What is out of the ordinary is discovering just how intuitive this OS truly is! In no time it - Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson - sexy even without a body) is conversing, cajoling, making recommendations and generally invading and organizing Theodore's life. A mini version of Samantha is with him at all times, the way we carry mobile phones, and you know how intimate we all are with our phones, so just imagine if your phone was really learning your personality and at the same time, it's becoming it's own personality, with the ability to question it's own decisions and needs, becoming more and more human until it's more than just a modern convenience, it's your soul-mate. Actually, I think many people already have this relationship with their cellphones.


On the whole, Her is a little long, but what I love is that it plays out like a real romance: first a discovery phase; then a phase where first one "person" is more vulnerable and hesitant and then the other; and ultimately, one out growing the other.  I also like that the demise of Theodore's marriage is more than just a beginning point for his character - the flashbacks of his relationship with his wife are extraordinarily touching and original. I wonder how Jonze came up with the scene of them fighting with orange street cones on their heads?

Then, of course, there's the thinking behind the movie
 which asks those age-old Sci-Fi questions: 
  • Where are we going to end up when it comes to our dependence on technology?

  • What's going to happen as we continue to allow it to take the place of human interaction?

  • And do we run technology or does it run us?

Random Thoughts?

T &T's LAMB Score: 4 out 5 

Around the Web

EW: Did you know Joaquin before this? Do you travel in the same social circles?

Jonze: Only a little bit, but I always imagined that at one point we’d work together. We hit it off just immediately. I finished the script on a Saturday and I went over to his house the next week. It all happened sort of quick. Within a week of me finishing that first draft, Joaquin said yes and our producer, Megan Ellison, said she wanted to do it and Warner Bros. said they wanted to distribute it. That is not normal. I’d never had that kind of good fortune in putting a movie together... Entertainment Weekly


Philly Film, Food & Events Blog

2 comments:

Alex Thomas January 20, 2014 at 3:30 AM  

"What's going to happen as we continue to allow it to take the place of human interaction?"

Thought about this a lot during and after the film, Jonze really brings up some great social commentary throughout.

I loved the flashbacks too, Rooney Mara was so dreamy. A little long fr me but I will give it a rewatch I think. Nice review!

tinseltine.com January 23, 2014 at 6:54 PM  

Hey Alex,
I'm sure Jonze is happy to have made a a movie that makes us think!

Thanks for visiting :)

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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