Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) works at a handwritten, romantic card service for people who can’t express their feelings to a loved one. Having to write heartfelt loving messages is a life needle as Theodore is going through a sticky divorce and is struggling to move on from the loss of the love of his life. Theodore buys a new state of the art operating system and eventually falls in love with the newly bought operating system. Set in the future, Her asks many questions about human relationships with other humans and technology.
Joaquin Phoenix admitted in an interview with the Guardian he’d never experienced heartbreak thus it is clear you don’t have to have experienced heart break in order to connect with the film. Joaquin Phoenix is stunning a lonely man who, whilst unable to let go of his wife (Rooney Mara), falls in love with an operating machine. He lives in a high-rise apartment high above the city of Los Angeles, the distance he is above the city adds to his isolation and loneliness. Joaquin Phoenix is great but he is equally brilliantly supported by Amy Adams whose character highlights the importance of close human relationships in a person’s hour of need.
In a state of loneliness Theodore strikes about a relationship with his operating system. Whilst the relationship may lack in physical intimacy it excels in a staggeringly strong emotional intimacy. Samantha seems perfect for Theodore and their romantic relationship is far more emotional engaging than so many human relationships told in the films and novels. Despite the fact that a machine is involved in this romantic relationship it feels real, human and believable. Samantha Morton was originally contracted to provide the voice of Samantha, but at the last minute Morton’s voice work was replaced by Johansson because Morton’s work wasn’t what Jonze had intended. However, this doesn’t seem to have altered the fact that both Samantha and Theodore have an outstanding emotional connection.
The film has much to say about modern relationships and our relationship with technology. Spike Jonze’s Her does, on occasions, strike a rather mournful tone as it examines love in all its splendour and glory as well as the times where it brings us crashing back to earth. The story flashes back to the first time he met Rooney Mara’s Catherine, there the scenes are shot in a warm glow reminding of a Theodore Twombly of a better time in his life and highlighting the contrasting emotions love can cause.
Her is a beautifully shot film with an emotionally resonant centre, Her is essentially about the fundamental importance of close human relationships and how in your hour of need silence of person you most care about is worth more than 10,000 empty words.