Monday, 27 January 2014

Her (2013) Film Review

Her poster
Title: Her
Director: Spike Jonze
Screenwriter: Spike Jonze
Length: 126 minutes
Year of Release: 2013

Her is a film directed by Spike Jonze, and it stars the ever fantastic Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson and Amy Adams, and centres around Phoenix's character, Theodore, who has recently come out of a long relationship. He is sad and lonely; that is until he downloads an artificial intelligence, named Samantha, that opens his eyes to the world around him that he has neglected to acknowledge whilst deep in self loathing. 

The performances, to begin with. Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, as always, is absolutely fantastic. He never delivers a performance less than wonderful (in my case anyway) and this time is no exception. He's strangely relatable and lovable here. I seriously would never have guessed so, based on his previous roles. Well, never judge a book by it's cover certainly applies to this situation. He is helped along by a fantastic voice performance from Scarlett Johansson, who plays Samantha surprisingly! Who would have guessed she could've been this damned good in a voice role?! She brings a third dimension to a character which has no physical appearance, and that is something that is very awe worthy. I feel that she has been snubbed by the Oscars, not getting a nomination for her performance. It's absolutely pitch perfect. These two are accompanied by Amy Adams, in a small but pivotal role as Theodore's friend, and Rooney Mara, who plays Theodore's ex-wife. Both are very good in their small roles, and it all makes for a fantastic film, performance wise. 

Ultimately, the real star of the show is the wonderful Spike Jonze. This guy has an imagination like no other. It's crazy, wild, imaginative. Here, he takes you on an emotional roller coaster, one that I have not embarked on for quite a while. Sincerely; I've not had another film from 2013 hit me in the heart like this one did. Jonze has managed to create a real, beautiful love story, one that showcases the beauty of love, and how it's affects on people can really change them, for better or worse. It's not like 500 Days of Summer; one which you can relate to perfectly. It distances itself away from that kind of genre, the one which tries to stay relatable throughout, and keep you involved simply because you can fit yourself right in the shoes of the main character. Here, you simply can't. But that doesn't matter, because you can accept this relationship, between a man and a computer, because it's delivered in such a real, honest way. 

I thought about a concept around half way through this film. That is, that all the visuals are taken away. You close your eyes for the duration, or maybe you rip the audio from the film. Either way, I feel like you're going to get an experience that may not just be as good as the original, intended experience, but one that may surpass the original. This story is so centred around dialogue, that I feel pictures almost don't add that much to the film. See, I found the film shot very quietly. It is shot in a way that allows the dialogue to be the main character, not the physical person itself. The words flowing from Johansson and Phoenix's mouths are really what you need to be focusing on. An all audio experience may add to the beauty of this brilliantly told film, by allowing the dialogue to be the only form of expression. You'll have to try it out and see whether it works for you or not; I just think that it would be a good idea to try out.

Overall, Her is an absolutely fantastic film. It's not going to crack my top 10 of the year, but it's come incredibly close. It's an emotionally driven film, that will hit you to your core. I challenge you not to cry at the end of this film! Despite the lack of visual presence, this is a film which I'm certainly hoping wins Oscars. 

Junkie Score: 9.2
Worth admission price? Yes

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