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|
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?
T &T's LAMB Score: 4 out 5
Around the WebEW: 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
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