Thursday 27 February 2014


Less than a week to go until the big night and I'm squeezing in the last few films (getting a bit tight now, isn't it?). Last week's flick was the fantastic Her.

I heard Her being described the other day as "that one where the guy falls in love with his computer"... To an extent, I guess that is the long and short of it. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) lives in the not too distant future where, to meet a growing demand for simulated relationships, an operate system is produced, designed to suit the user's particular needs. This is where Theodore meets "Samantha" (Scarlett Johansson) who helps him through his loneliness, his struggles at work, and the final stages of his divorce with his wife, Catherine (Rooney Mara). But as these OSs learn from intuition, Samantha grows as their relationship does, and soon she too has needs that she wants met. Is it morally wrong? Will he be missing out? Does any of it matter if he is happy? This movie depicts the problems evident in any relationship, as well as those that arise in the virtual.

Thinking about it, Her had pretty much everything I like in a film. The love story was interesting and intriguing, not a soppy romance with predictable ups and downs. I found it funny, as did the the majority of the audience, though I think most of the laughing was due to an uncomfortable understanding that this kind of relationship could be waiting just around the corner... Of course it's also got its sad moments, and your heart bleeds for both Theodore and Samantha at times, which is odd because, not only are they fictional, but half of them isn't real either.

A professor I had at university had a theory that one day, society will start to grow tired of new technology and will begin reverting back to old aesthetics and processes of design. Director Spike Jonze must have similar opinions because despite being set in a futuristic world, Her is full of influences from the past. The costumes, the furnishings - Theodore even works for a company that writes and digitally produces handwritten letters. The film's overall palette gave off, dare I say it, "vintage" tones. Having said that, the scenes that do use computer generated effects to depict the futuristic elements are also stunning and quite effortless.  Personally, I was absolutely immersed.

I like Joaquin Phoenix (which helps, as most of the film is spent watching, in effect, him talking to himself!) - I think he's a fine actor and it's great to see him back on the big screens again. His performance isn't jaw-droppingly spectacular, but it's not supposed to be. Theodore Twombly is your everyday man, and that's what makes him and his story so relatable. For me it was the girls who really stood out, and rightly so, considering the title. This does leads to the question, who is "Her"? There's an obvious answer, but actually, her could be any of them; the perfect woman who (literally) doesn't exist, the once wife now ex, the blind date that got away, the girl next door; each play an important part in Theodore's life and therefore Spike Jonze's tale of love.

Having said all of this, the friends that I went to see the film with didn't get it. They found it creepy and disturbing, and unenjoyable. Well, whether you love Her or you hate Her, it has to be agreed that it's unlike most things you'll have seen before.

So what's going to happen on Sunday? Her is up against some seriously big, shouty movies, and I'm not sure it will come out on top... But deep down inside, I so hope it does, at least picking up, like it has done at other awards ceremonies, a Best Screenplay award for Mr Jonze. Fingers so tightly crossed.

If you haven't already, check out the Guardian's brief videos supporting each film in the Best Picture category. A quick giggle, and a good catch up if you've missed any.


No comments:

Post a Comment