Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Her (2013)

Her (2013)
Wow, I really like this movie a lot. I generally don't like love or romantic stories, but this movie is a charming and unique take on a romantic tale. What would happen if someone fell in love with an AI, and I mean truly fell in love? This movie explores that. Yes, there are some creepy moments here and there with the relationship. The movie is sweet and a little strange in that Spike Jonze type of way.
Joaquin Phoenix's character is a professional letter writer. One day, he downloads a new operating system. The system links up with his personality and forms a female voice. Voiced perfectly by Scarlett Johansson. The OS goes by Samantha. The actual OS is an AI and the two of them fall in love.
Phoenix is great as a dull guy that keeps to himself, however he is extremely good at conveying letters. While his character is strange, there is a sense of warmth to him. I actually believe he would fall in love with a voice. I really like Joaquin as an actor because he seems to always give it his all.
Johansson does an outstanding job with her witty voice and I damn near fell in love with her. What's interesting is Johansson wasn't the original voice of Samantha. Samantha Morton did the voice on set for the actors and actually did a recording for the movie. Later, Spike Jonze recast her with Johansson. I think it was a smart decision.
The other thing about the movie is there are bigger themes going on behind the scenes with the OS (AI). Samantha isn't merely an OS, she is actually a learning and feeling AI that wants to expand her knowledge and creates artwork. Later as the story progresses, we learn that other OS are expanding their knowledge and outlook on the world. It gets a little metaphysical in the last part of the third act and there's even a twist. This twist sort of turns their relationship on it head that's for sure.
I really like how the movie discusses what it is to be human. The movie says that perhaps it is our knowledge and memories that make us human more than just a collection of blood cells and skin. Can two people from different plans of existence really fall in love? Can we really fall in love with a voice? And, the movie goes into deeper into these meaning as the movie progresses, with a few creepy and funny moments thrown in. It is also refreshing to see people willing to be open to an AI having a relationship. OS and AI types seem to be the norm in this future.
As quirky as he is, Spike Jonze is in top form with the writing and directing. This is nice little movie that tricks you into a deeper meaning of love and life that wouldn't be possible in a normal romance story. Cool little movie, Jonze.
Grade: B+

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