Interesting that your blog views peak over the Oscar’s period, I feel like I should rate my reviews on ‘most likely to win an award’. Personally I think some of the best films don’t even get a look in, but hey, I’m just an average Joe public audience member…
‘Her’ won Best Original Screenplay for writer and director Spike Jonze last night. I think this is quite an apt award as the redeeming feature of this film is its script. Joaquin Phoenix gives an intense performance as Theodore, a writer of sorts who falls in love with his new ‘intuitive’ operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. A strange concept but one that isn’t too outrageous I guess.
The idea of an intelligent operating system which evolves through it’s experiences is an interesting one. But for me it raises too many questions outside of the immediate story line to be a believable scenario. For example, Samantha, (the OS in question) develops feelings, has her own opinions and can influence a persons behavior… my mind was racing with questions such as, would they have human rights, should they be paid some how, can you shut them down without raising some serious ethical concerns… Also the way in which the technology is used had me doubting it’s popularity as every thing is voice activated – I personally don’t think that would catch on, as technology trends go, I think the less talking out loud the better?
In terms of plot, Theodore is suffering after a break-up and seems particularly vulnerable when Samantha the OS comes into his life. His connection to the technology was understandable, if you have ever seen ‘Catfish’ then you’ll know falling in love virtually without ever meeting face to face is common even today. But the way the story progressed into calling each other ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ and this being a relatively natural occurrence raised an eyebrow for me.
I enjoyed Phoenix and his friendship with Amy (played by Amy Adams) but I felt she was under used, Adams was effortless as usual though and I liked her character. I understood her friendship with a female OS much more than the relationship between Samantha and Theodore. He has little interaction with anyone other than Samantha though, but I wasn’t completely bored of it like you might expect.
The saving grace is the script, the film is full of beautiful phrases and mini speeches, as the characters question the world around them and the emotions they are experiencing. For a man who claims to be introvert and struggles with sharing his emotions, he speaks very poetically about them a lot of the time, a contradiction in his character for me. But none the less some excellent dialogue between Phoenix and Johansson which pull the film along at a steady pace.
With more events, and less awkward virtual sex scenes this film would have been much more enjoyable. I enjoyed Robot and Frank (2012) much better which has a similar angle, but I can see why the successful director and high profile leads dragged this one up to Oscar worthy (although I’m not sure I agree with it).
My POV, an interesting concept but not a lot more than a man seemingly talking poetically to himself for 2 hours. I wont be seeing it again and I wouldn’t suggest a trip to the big screen (unless you find mind boggelingly awkwardness a fun factor…). Should have seen Lego Movie instead…