I. Am. Almost. Done. With. My. Awards. Season. List.
Her is a beautiful film that I really enjoyed. The idea is very simple: Theodore is a sad, lonely and socially-isolated writer who falls in love with his operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The film focuses on the ideas of relationships, isolation, love, romance, and what are future could be with societies increasing dependency on social platforms for relationships and communication.
I don't like Phoenix very much. But this is the first film where I can honestly say that I really like him. His portrayal of the sad and isolated Theodore is just brilliant. He finds a perfect balance between isolation and sadness, between hopelessness and reflection. There is just something about the way he carries himself, it's perfect. And his performance opposite Samantha (the OS) is just exceptional - he pulls off a wonderful performance where it is his character's responsibility to make Samantha seem real just as much as it is Johansson's.
Though the film is focused on Theodore and Samantha, Amy Adams makes an appearance as a very old friend that has known Theodore for a very long time, and they even live in the same building. One of the things that I really enjoyed was that their friendship has no set-up and barely any dialogue, but you see it throughout so clearly. It is really interesting how obvious yet subtle it is.
Throughout the film, I was continuously intrigued by the setting and surroundings. The date is never articulated, but we must believe it is somewhere in the future. While the location is said to be LA and there are a few obvious shots in front of landmarks like the Disney Concert Hall, the majority of the film is short among the skyscrapers and streets of Shanghai and Pudong, China. There is something so unique about the environment throughout - the cosmopolitan city, the busy streets with even the colors of clothing and the lack of patterns, the elevated walkways and greenspaces, and the beautiful mid-century modern furniture in the homes (which I was drooling over, of course).
While not meant to be a commentary about technology, the film does obviously bring up the idea of social isolation and the direction our society is going in. In street scenes, you just see person after person looking at screens and talking to their OS. It is not so far from where we are today ...
Overall, a very good film that is worth all the recognition it is getting. Strong performances, strong directing, and a beautifully crafted film with lovely details.
"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy."