D: Spike Jonze
Annapurna (Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze & Vincent Landay)
W: Spike Jonze
DP: Hoyte van Hoytema
Ed: Eric Zumbrunnen & Jeff Buchanan
Mus: Will Butler & Owen Pallett
PD: K. K. Barrett
Cos: Casey Storm
Joaquin Phoenix (Theodore Twombly), Amy Adams (Amy), Rooney Mara (Catherine), Olivia Wilde (Blind Date), Chris Pratt (Paul), Matt Letscher (Charles), Portia Doubleday (Isabella), Scarlett Johansson (voice of Samantha)
Her is a truly novel and inventive take on the romance genre, set in the near future when the limits of technology are almost boundless.
Joaquin Phoenix plays loveable loner Theodore, a writer for a company which sends letters between people by proxy. Feeling lonely in his life, he downloads a new Operating System called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), complete with an almost lifelike personality with a thirst for knowledge and sociality which begins to communicate with him as though it were a real, living, breathing person. Theodore opens up to Samantha about his feelings, especially over his impending divorce from his estranged wife, and a relationship blossoms between the real person and the artificial personality, becoming almost too real as they develop feelings of love and the complications which often come with them, from miscommunication to jealousy, infidelity to desistance.
Director Spike Jonze tackled the surreal with Being John Malkovich and satire with Adaptation, Her is a mixture of both, telling a realistic story of love with a hypnagogic twist. He also pulls off some movie magic by creating a winning character out of something which, crudely put, simply doesn't exist. A similar thing was done in the offbeat 2007 film Lars & The Real Girl, but it works slightly better here due to a brilliantly quirky script which won the director an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Joaquin Phoenix also deserves due credit for his lead performance, while the production design brilliantly captures a realistic future. The film simply wouldn't have worked however without the brilliance of Jonze's writing and the sexy, sultry voice of Scarlett Johansson.