Telling someone you’re going to see Her is like playing a game of “Who’s on first?”:
“I’m going to see Her.”
“Not ‘who’… Her.”
“Who is she?”
Her has received a handful of nominations ranging from Best Picture to Best Original Screenplay. While I don’t believe the film will win Best Picture, I do think it’s one of the most interesting films in the mix of nominations this year. Aesthetically, the film is gorgeous. I loved the colour palette, set design, and costumes which contributed to the overall feeling of being nowhere and anywhere on a timeline or location-wise. More importantly, I enjoyed the narrative. Sure, there were some awkward moments that I would have preferred not to experience, but I’m accepting the film as a product of its time.
The film tells the story of writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) going through the motions and emotions of a divorce. His melancholic state concerns friends and he seeks companionship in the technologically absorbed world through chat rooms and blind dates instigated by others. One day he discovers a new Operating System that is tailored to its owners’ personal and emotional needs. Theodore’s OS, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), quickly becomes the perfect woman for him — organizing his files, helping him play video games, and catering to his emotions without stepping on his toes. They eventually fall in love… and at this point, I feel like the film takes on a new level of strangeness that makes it so good, so I won’t spoil the ending.
I believe the film is making a commentary on the uniqueness of human emotions and physical interaction. We are approaching a technological age where intellectual discussions with computers are a possibility. I’m sure there are devices already in the making or developed that can duplicate the processes involved in experiencing emotions, but the film really highlights the difficulties of a relationship without physical presence not unlike long distance relationships with the assistance of computer technology. There are aspects computers will never be able to duplicate when it comes to relationships, but their aptitude is becoming eerily similar to the human condition.
So far, this has been my favourite film nominated for Best Picture mostly because I left the theatre unsure of my feelings about it. I was deeply stirred by the narrative and social critique, amazed by its cinematographic qualities, and impressed with the acting performances of Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson — I love Amy Adams in just about anything, though. Unfortunately, I’m still convinced the Academy has an obsession with 12 Years a Slave and believe it will take home the Golden Boy.
Our next stop on the Road to the Oscars… Dallas Buyers Club.