Spike Jonze’s “Her” takes a ridiculous premise and creates a beautiful masterpiece

Arman Khoshneviss

248311id1d_Her_Advance_Unrated_27x40_1Sheet.inddIt would be difficult to find a film as important and relevant to this electronic generation as Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

“Her” is a beautiful sci-fi romance set in the not-so-distant future that will leave viewers  thinking about love, the world we live and ultimately leave them overwhelmed with emotion. It’s consistently amazing in every aspect of filmmaking and will awe movie goers with its artistry in acting, writing, score and cinematography. Not only is it heartfelt and philosophical, but “Her” still manages some comedic moments in a satirical way.

The film follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a recently divorced man, whose loss of a relationship has led him to become introverted and lost within this technologically-isolated world. He soon finds a companion in his new artificial-intelligent operating system, which names itself (herself?) Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Overtime, Theodore finds himself falling in love with Samantha, who in return falls in love with him.

With an original script from Spike Jonze, who also directs the film, “Her” is full of heart. The attention to detail is just outstanding and Jonze writes a thoughtful, funny and passionate script that never once feels fake. The idea of a man falling in love with a computer might seem ridiculous to some audience members, but to those who grew up around technology, it is a future depicted that may not be so far away. The film could have gone wrong in many ways had it been in the hands of another writer, but Jonze understands people and that is truly reflected in this film.

Though Spike Jonze’s writing is fantastic, the film wouldn’t be what it is without its two lead actors, Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. Phoenix has shown over the years that he is an amazing actor in films such as “The Master” and “Gladiator,” but this film cements this notion as a fact. The film is shot in extreme close-ups of Phoenix’s face for at least 80 percent of the film, but it is not boring in the least thanks to his powerful performance. Phoenix makes the audience understand Theodore and love him as a character; he makes viewers feel every emotion the character feels, allowing the viewer to connect with his situation.

All that being said about Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson isn’t without praise. She deserves an Oscar for her voice acting. With Johansson, it’s like Samantha is in the room with Phoenix’s Theodore. It’s as if this artificially-intelligent computer is a real, live, breathing, emoting person. Together these actors create such an unbelievably beautiful and real relationship that audience members want it to work out. The chemistry these two have is unbelievable.

While most of the film is extreme close-ups, that doesn’t make the cinematography any less beautiful.

The script doesn’t need heavy world building because the cinematography does it so well. The world is created through every lingering shot of a passerby or of the Los Angeles landscape. All the better that these shots are accompanied by a beautiful score composed by Emmy winners Arcade Fire. They create such a powerful score that accompanies every scene so wonderfully and captures the mood of the film perfectly.

The topics this film hits on are more important now than ever before, especially since situations such as Theodore’s aren’t hard to imagine happening in the years to come. This film could have been all comedy given the subject matter, but Spike Jonze gives more than that. He creates a realistic film that is just as sweet as it is off-putting. There is very little about this film that is imperfect.

Spike Jonze’s “Her” is a modern masterpiece and is without a doubt a four out of four stars.  There is no film that is more relevant to us as human beings in cinemas right now than “Her.” Theodore tells Samantha, “I love the way you look at the world” and so will moviegoers, thanks to Spike Jonze.