Wednesday, January 22, 2014


The trailers for Spike Jonze's Her looked a bit too artsy fartsy for my taste, but something about a man falling in love with his computer is very interesting to me. But, folks, no need to worry!... I am engaged to a girl, and she is MUCH better than my computer!... I'm not a huge fan of Spike Jonze's previous work, although it always manages to get me thinking. His stories are so weird and unique, and I can easily say that I would be frightened to be in his head for more than five minutes. But, even with the craziness, there is something so intriguing about this storyline, and, regardless of how absolutely insane Joaquin Phoenix may be, the man can act. Sometimes, weird movies, like Her, are able to surprise me, but, at the same time, weird movies can end up as total disasters. Who knew what was coming with Her?...

As expected, the film was quite artsy and trippy, but neither was the least bit overwhelming, which was a pleasant surprise. The artistic, visual focus (which I tend to not care for too much) was quite nice and accented the realistic fantasy that Jonze and Phoenix created. You might ask, "Tanner, how does a film manage to be a realistic fantasy? Those words are antonyms." To you people, I just ask that you take my word for it or go watch the movie! Honestly, there were a few inexplicable, technological advances in Her, and it is difficult for myself to imagine falling in love with my computer. However, at the same exact time, nothing about the technological and societal advances were too extreme to make them seem unattainable. Wait, wait... I take that back! In Her, nobody ever wore a belt, and I really don't see the market for belts collapsing drastically in the near future. So, there was that! Also, as someone who considers himself a bit of an introvert, I could actually imagine somebody out there falling in love with a computer, if that computer was the Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) that Phoenix's Theodore Twombly fell for in the first half of the film. Personally, the idea is not appealing, but I don't believe it to be too far-fetched. So, anyway, I say all of that to help you realize that Her is not as whimsical as the trailer made it out to be. The film felt very, very real, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way that Jonze told the story. The plot itself was not ground-breaking, but the film really opened some gaping questions about seclusion, as a result of our computer-loving, introverted future-selves.

Pretty much everything about this film revolved around Theodore Twombly, and I do not believe that there was ever a significant, on-screen moment that lacked the presence of Joaquin Phoenix. With that being said, pretty much everything that I said in the plot about the film can be carried over to Twombly's character. He was THE man in this film, and he wasn't nearly as much of a social recluse as the trailer made him out to be, which is probably why I was so surprised that he was so realistic. Sure, he was a bit awkward and introverted, but he was NOT socially inept. Phoenix did a brilliant job, as we've come to expect, regardless of how crazy he may be. Additionally, Scarlett Johansson did an amazing job with her voice acting, although I did not like the fact that I was picturing her the whole time. If I did not have a face to associate with her voice, I think the film would have been even better, because I would have felt a bit more in touch with Theodore's perception of her. Finally, Spike Jonze himself provided one of the funniest moments of 2013 films, with his voice performance as the foul-mouthed Alien Child. I was rolling throughout that entire scene! I think the Alien Child is deserving of his own film... Anybody with me on that?

Her was so surprisingly real that I still don't know if I've fully grasped how great the film was, and I watched it like two weeks ago! My expectations were absolutely destroyed! Of the 2013 Oscar contenders/nominees, I don't think there is another film with anywhere near as much creativity or intrigue in its story... Maybe Bad Grandpa? Ha Ha Ha!!!... Anyway, I encourage everyone to check out Her. Is it odd?... Yes! Is it unique?... Yes! Is it possible that you will hate it?... Yes! But, there is a chance that this film could sneak up and be your favorite film of 2013. Do not be afraid! Let me be your encouragement! Go watch Her! I give Her 4.00 out of 5 stars.


  1. Nice review, Tanner. And interesting note concerning Scarlet Johansson and picturing her face throughout. And, now that you mention that, I actually was doing the same myself without even realizing it. And hell, during the surrogate sex scene, I half expected them to actually cast Johansson as the surrogate (this was before I was aware that Johansson was actually a second choice, as they had originally filmed all of Samantha's voice work with another actress first). But yeah, that really would have been especially interesting had they cast an unknown for the part, and removed the image of a face to attach to it for the viewer. I wonder how different the experience woulda been in that instance.

    1. Yeah... I wasn't able to enjoy the surrogate scene because all I could think was "that ain't ScarJo." At the same time, though, that is what Theodore was thinking. I'm torn about it. She did a great job, but we will never know what could have been!

  2. Good review Tanner. If ScarJo was my operating system, I think I might have just fallen in love as well. Especially with that raspy voice.