After trying to work out a chance to see a film with The Wife, I end up going alone to see Her, written and directed by Spike Jonze, which is supposed to be a story set in the near future. The annoying thing, not about the movie, but rather what people ASSUME about the movie, is that any guy who falls in love with his computer’s operating system must be a dismal loser. In fact, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is rather well-respected in his job writing personal letters for people who have difficulties creating messages themselves.
He IS unhappy because he’s on the verge of divorcing his childhood sweetheart Catherine (Rooney Mara), and stalls in signing the papers.
Theodore’s purchase of a talking OS with artificial intelligence ends up fascinating him. The OS names herself “Samantha” (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and she can learn both intellectually and psychologically, as they discuss all elements of life.
Maybe I’m cynical, but Theodore seems no more adrift than any number of other people populating the film, including his coworkers, his old friend Amy (Amy Adams – much less glamorous than in American Hustle), and his fix-up date (Olivia Wilde). Indeed, he seems a little different from many folks I see in real life, more engaged with their electronic devices than the people around them.
In fact, Theodore, in his conversation with Samantha, is quite observant. (Possibly my favorite name of a character, in the end credits, is based on Theodore’s sharp-eyed comment: “New Sweet Boyfriend of Mother Who Dated Pricks.”)
I enjoyed Her quite a bit, as an absurd love story, and I understand its Golden Globe win for Best Screenplay and Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Hmm, I did not actually notice that Shanghai, China was used for a lot of the exterior settings until I read the end credits.