Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Her [2013]

"Sometimes I think I have felt everything I'm gonna feel. And from here on out, I'm not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I've already felt"



Background:
Release Date: 16 January 2014 (Malaysia), 10 January 2014 (USA)
Directed By: Spike Jonze
Written By: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson (voice), Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde
Duration: 126 minutes


In A Nutshell:
Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely and depressed writer who is ignoring an impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart, Catherine (played by Rooney Mara). He purchases a talking operating system (OS) equipped with a top notch artificial intelligence. Theodore chooses a female identity for the OS, and it then chooses for itself the name Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Samantha's incredible ability to adapt, learn, and evolve just like a human-being soons creates a special bond between her(it) and Theodore. The connection that the two of them share soon grows into a relationship of love.




Thumbs Up:
+ Intellectually stimulating. The mind will have a lot of thought-provoking issues to ponder on.
+ Emotionally engaging. You'll be hard-pressed not to immerse yourself into your feelings
+ A powerhouse performance by Joaquin Phoenix. I'll be rooting for him come awards season.
+ Sterling performance by Scarlett Johansson. Never before has voice-acting been so captivating.
+ Elegant cinematography. Every shot is beauty to the senses.
+ The score enhances the mood and tone of the entire film with exquisite precision. There's constantly a feel of deep exploration and awe towards the world.
+ Err.... costume design? I'm sooo in love with the movie right now that I'll even throw that in... yeah, like I really know anything about fashion! I'm probably wrong, but the style on display subtly shows that the film is a few years further into the future (which the time it is set in).
Thumbs Down:
- n/a


The Verdict Is In:
Some movies engages us on a cerebral level. While there a those that appeal deep to the core of our emotions. Since Her [2013] intelligently asks questions on basic human feelings, it succeeds in achieving both. Why do we love? Why do we hate? Why don't we allow ourselves to be happy? Why do we put so much effort in perfecting things, that we forgo to just simply enjoy them? Then, we also have questions on how much involved and dependent we are with technology right now? And to what stage does this eventually evolve into? (My hunch is still Skynet and machines will rise against humans led by John Connor :P )


Although initially the love relationship obviously feel weird, as the film progresses, we will get more and more smitten and charmed by Samantha (excellently bought to life by Scarlett Johansson... probably her best role, even more than Lost In Translation [2003] ). Sooner, rather than later, we will get the sense that the relationship is indeed an authentic and genuine one. Its like what Theodore says to Samantha in the film: "You feel real to me".


I've already said this a few times in previous blog posts..... 2013 has been an excellent year for movies. The amount of quality films been released in amazing. With the Golden Globe Awards being just a few hours away from starting (I am writing from the Malaysian time zone), Her [2013] so far is my favorite of the lot and the one I'll be rooting for in awards season.

p/s: for someone who is a little bit of an introvert, Theodore is clearly one lucky guy... I mean girls that look like Rooney Mara, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, and the voice of Scarlett Johansson? Damn....

***Okay, that's a wrap! Samantha.... publish blog post!***
Rating:
9.5 out of 10

17 comments:

  1. I can't wait to see this.

    I'm not sure that even Skynet can destroy the hotness of ScarJo. John Connor wouldn't stand for it.

    And yes, for an introvert, dude seems like he's doing pretty well for himself...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only way Skynet won't control the world is if a certain ape named Caesar manages to conquer earth before them and turn our world into... a planet of the apes!!! Darn... geek alert there.... if only geeks were as lucky as that Theodore Dude!!

      Delete
  2. Good review Asrap. Quite a beautiful movie, especially since it gets you to believe in the romance between this operating-system and Phoenix, while also having you remember all of the emotions that are synonymous with love and being in a relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dan! You're right.... it's a strange romance, but it has all the emotions of a real one!

      Delete
  3. ok if ada downtime ku nak layan (entah bila la agaknya)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. xpe... give it a try... ada kemungkinan it'll surprise you!

      Delete
  4. Awesome Asrap! We're pretty much in agreement in the areas you listed as highlights. I even like the retro look of the clothes. I was bummed that Phoenix didn't win last night, it should've won more than just Best Screenplay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah... I first knew about the film from your blog.... was it the coverage of TCFF? I can't remember.... but before your coverage, I wasn't aware about it.

      I feel it should've won more too. But that shows how strong the competition is this year.

      Delete
    2. Ohh... and I'm glad I'm not alone on the clothes too!! Haha..

      Delete
    3. No this wasn't screened at TCFF, I saw it at a screening in December and it made my Film of the Month. Yeah, lots of good movies in 2013, it made making my Top 10 quite difficult [hint, hint] ;)

      Delete
    4. Yikes.. my bad! But my first exposure of the film was still through your blog. I was looking forward to your top 10 for quite some time now! :)

      Delete
  5. I wasn't sure about this movie so I wasn't going ot go and see it. I will totally check it out now. Usually I think Phoenix picks good movies so I don't know why I doubted it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phoenix does choose wisely, and he delivers every time too! If anything, I'm turning into a fan of Spike Jonze too. I'll be sure to check out his future works.

      Delete
  6. Great review! I loved this one so much, and I'm still thinking about it days later. It really does just make you think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does. And the issues are relevant to real life anyway. Thanks Brittani!

      Delete
  7. LOL, yeah Theodore is one lucky guy. To think of it, I think every guy would fall for his OS if the voice is like Scar-Jo there :)) This is one iconic movie, I just love it. I'll feature its soundtrack next month. I don't really like the ending though, but the rest of the movie was very original and lovely. Spike Jonze made this damn well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, Theodore surely is lucky! :)

      Cool! I love the soundtrack. It influenced the mood of the movie superbly! I look forward to your post.

      The ending was a little heartbreaking, but I actually like the ending. I really am becoming a fan of Spike Jonze!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...