It is also a film best seen with very little foreknowledge. The less you know the better. It isn't that there are huge surprises? It is the subtle points and developments here that you don't want foreshadowed. Sure, you know the basic plot but the film approaches subjects related to our existence, to technology, the nature of love, forgiveness and of personal identity and individuality. It is a complicated movie even though it seems quite the simple love story at times.
Her isn't maudlin or dreary though. It does make you feel for the characters but it also has more laughs in it than most movies that are SUPPOSED to be comedies. It probably starts of lighter and gets heavier as it moves on but the load is never terrible to bare. It is so easy to imagine a movie like this going off the rails--especially when it gets into sex! It stays firmly ON the rails throughout.
Thanks be that this film was written and directed by Spike Jonze and that some hack didn't come up with a similar idea first and put J-Lo or Katherine Heigl in it. Because this is the sort of concept that Hollywood could turn into another putrid, eye rolling, barf inducing rom-com.
It is the little things in this movie that elevate it from merely good--the attention to fashion changes in this slightly future-world. The fact Joaquin Phoenix uses a safety pin in his shirt to keep his OS girlfriend from not being able to see when he walks around with her as a mobile device. There is attention to detail at every point in this movie--the video games that appear in it are fantastic and hilarious (and seem very real to boot)
12 Years is about the past and it brings that world to life in startling fashion. Her is doing an entirely different sort of thing that, in its own way, is no less provocative. Human - OS relationships accepted by society? What would JESUS say?
It is still hard to see how Chiwetel Ojiofor could possibly lose to anyone in the Best Actor category. Even though Phoenix' performance in her IS worthy it is also in a more subdued, less dramatic role. He deserves a nomination nonetheless.
This is the sort of film that Jonze makes. He isn't prolific. His last full-length was Where The Wild Things Are, the peculiar adaptation of the Maurice Sendak book in 2009. Her is every bit as good (and this is a huge compliment) as his films Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. Again, it may be even better. Like those films it also bears multiple viewings.
It is to be hoped that it is less than four years before Jonze's next feature.