An impressively ambitious albeit personal endeavor, Her tells the tale of one Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) as loneliness following a recent divorce fuels an unavoidable desire for companionship. Soon learning of the new artificially-intelligent operating system “OS 1,” Theodore purchases a copy if only to eventually pursue a relationship with his match, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Learning the ins and outs of each other through the process of personality-infused trial and error, Theo and Samantha encounter and attempt to endure many a hardship coinciding with the dynamism of such a groundbreaking relationship.
Carrying with it an unrivaled intellectual tinge, Her is far more than simple genre-infused fare as it remains marvelously multifaceted. While addressed romantic longing in cinema is nearly as old as time, Jonze’s handling of this reality is wondrous as convention is sidestepped, the narrative’s relationship-centric commentary and focus coming off as incisive as anything preceding it. Modest in scope but excellently executed, the specifics of Theodore’s rebound-esque but poignant pursuit of Samantha as an uncommon love interest are nothing short of lovely.
As appropriately nuanced and noteworthy performances benchmark the proceedings, Jonze’s script deftly covers all of its bases as Her‘s world-building abilities very sensitively resonate. Interaction between key players – sexual or not – are well thought-out and tasteful, and to say that a majority of the subject matter is hard-hitting would be the understatement of the past twelve months.
A near perfect exercise in cinematic humanism and social commentary, Her is aptly and ceaselessly emotional viewing at its finest. Intelligently conceived and executed as its barely sci-fi trappings never once hinder the story it tells, the film’s inherently evocative nature is intoxicating and borderline overwhelming in the best possible way. Excellent performances further accentuate the already lovely and relatable narrative, Johansson and Phoenix’s regular interplay remaining particularly authentic as the state and true nature of their relationship come into question as you’d expect them to. As its strong suits exist to thoroughly captivate and not once turn viewers off, Her is hands down the best film of the past year and for good reason.