Sunday, January 12, 2014


Spike Jonze finally put it all together in Her, a lovely, touching movie that also manages to be speculative SF at its core.  The film fuses a relentlessly stylized look, a melancholy score, and perfect performances into his best work by far to date.  Slow, but not dull, the movie takes us into the head and heart of one Theodore Twombly, a man whose job is to write heartfelt letters for others. 

Joaquin Phoenix is superb as Twombly.  His performance joins that of Christian Bale in American Hustle and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street on my personal Best-Actor list for the Oscars.  Amy Adams again surprised me with a wonderful supporting role, and Olivia Wilde made a potentially dull turn memorable with the best performance I've ever seen by her.  Rooney Mara's acting was also spot on, though I've come to expect that from her.

The greatest surprise, though, was the wonderful work of Scarlett Johannson.  Don't get me wrong:  I'm a huge fan of hers.  She is gorgeous and always fun to watch.  Up to now, though, her acting has largely been so-so, with her role in Don Jon a notable exception.  In Her, though, and with only her voice--she is the software lead character, Samantha--she delivers her best performance ever.

On the off chance you don't already know the plot or ending, I don't want to ruin it for you, but I will say that Jonze stays true not only to his emotional subject matter, but also to the core SF idea, with an ending that is completely logical and yet powerful. 

I highly recommend Her.  Check it out.

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