Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Matt Letscher, Olivia Wilde, Portia Doubleday. Featuring the voice talents of Scarlett Johansson, Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader, Spike Jonze, and Brian Cox.
Written and Directed By: Spike Jonze
Imagine being in a relationship where you have to worry about things like recharging your girlfriend, or what happens while she’s “down” and performing maintenance. In a world where people are fighting for marriage to be redefined, it seems like the next possible step might be some form of marriage between a human and some kind of AI. Whether it be a fully functional bodied AI, or just a voice, like Her’s Samantha, remains to be seen. There’s a lot of vision in the future that Spike Jonze brings us. Unfortunately, there isn’t much vision in his editing ability.
That felt long. Really long. I sat through Wolf Of Wall Street which is a full hour longer than Her, and could have watched another hour. Her felt long after about 40 minutes. There are so many extended shots of Joaquin Phoenix staring out into space, or scenes that seem to go on forever, and others that seem to have no point. The ending perked me back up for the last 10-15 minutes, due to a nice climax in the films plot, but for at least 30 minutes before that I was thinking of other places I could be and other things I could be doing. I wasn’t interested in the characters anymore. They had lost me.
There’s been a lot of talk about Scarlett Johansson’s voice over work, and whether or not it should be eligible for a Best Supporting Actress award. I suppose if any voice over performance should be eligible, it should be this one. She does a great job as Samantha, but I still miss something overall with not seeing her ever on screen. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty good playing perpetual sad sack Theodore Twombly (Yes, I know, silly name). He’s also great at staring out into space, or looking down at the ground. He spends a great deal of time being told to look out at something or look down, and he does both while looking incredibly sad.
It’s not a horrible movie. Like I said, the futuristic elements are super cool. The first 45 minutes are solid, and the last 15 minutes are good too. There’s this middle section that is drug out. Unfortunately, we’re talking about an hour of the film. It felt much longer than it actually was, and I kept finding myself making mental notes of cuts I’d suggest. I don’t feel bad that Phoenix missed out on an Oscar nomination. He’s done better. So have Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Scarlett Johansson. Really, this is nobody’s masterwork. It is an interesting proposition to discuss a man’s love for an artificial intelligence, but you’d better be ready to bring the storytelling along too. You can’t win Oscars on premise alone.
But what do I know. I hated Life Of Pi.
FINAL GRADE: B-