Spike Jonze, without a doubt, is one of the most interesting and district filmmakers currently working. His narrative sense and knack for comedy intricately combine to make a viewing experience unlike any other. Her is a film about a man falling in love with an operating system, yes . But it’s about so much more. It’s about how the need for companionship and understanding is a deep-seeded human desire. It’s about how technology that was meant to bring us together can other times push us apart. It’s a film that is completely zeitgeist and yet completely timeless.
Her follows Theodore Twombly, a man who makes a living writing love letters for other people. He’s attempting to get over a bad break up, and buys a new operating system for his computer. What he doesn’t realize is that the AI inside his new OS would be so charismatic and irresistible that he’d fall in love with it… or should I say Her.
On a side note one of the most interesting aspects of Her is the way Jonze uses technology. And now I don’t mean this as in the way he gives life to Samantha, the artificially intelligent operating system. I mean in the way he handles how ubiquitous technology. Everything down to the voice activated computers. It’s extremely well thought out.
At a few points in the film Theodore plays an immersive video game that is projected into his living room. It’s really well done. The game looks like it could come out next year. It’s not holo-deck style projection. No, none of that Hard Light nonsense. It’s just the logical progression of where we are right now. It’s really, really well done.
The first half of Her is exactly that. Really, really well done. Everything is excited perfectly. Ever idea is laid out and dealt with in exactly the right order and time. It’s almost shocking how well Jonze manages to balance everything
The second half of the movie? Well, not as much. But we’ll get there.
One of the more shocking elements of Her is the fact that the entire film is just Theodore talking, often times to camera. Because of this fact the majority of the film is close ups. I’d like to see Spike Jonze try and pitch this movie. ‘Ok, So it’s a movie about a dude who falls in love with a computer… but it’s not a comedy… and the whole thing is just going to be close ups and talking. Yeah, can I have $50 million?”
Ok, let’s got tot he areas that don’t work as well: the film is about 20 minutes too long. The film has so many amazingly intricate ideas and predictions of the future (and they’re all good) that the film gets a bit lost under their weight. Basically the second half of the film just doesn’t live up to how amazing the first half is. That’s not to say it’s a bad second half. It’s not like the wheels fall off, but it’s a definite downgrade, in terms of quality. The film also should have ended 45 seconds before it did. Just saying.
Overall, Her is a wonderfully exuberant cinematic triumph with a slightly downgraded slide to the finish. It’s a harsh reality of filmmaking. Sometimes you don’t finish as strong as you start. Her asks questions and probes deeper into the human experience than most film even dare to attempt. The only thing in my mind when I left the theatre was ‘What is Spike Jonze going to do next’.
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