Her is not only a moving and emotionally charged film about relationships and technology, but it also features an incredible performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson (her voice anyway) with honorable mention to Amy Adams. The Blu-ray released by Warner Brothers features great video, good audio and some so-so bonus materials.
Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Warner Bros. | R – 125 min. – $35.99 | May 13, 2014
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Plot Outline: Set in Los Angeles in the slight future, Her follows Theodore (JOAQUIN PHOENIX), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship with his wife (ROONEY MARA), he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice (SCARLETT JOHANSSON) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.
Her probably is one of the more pleasant surprises of 2013, a year which didn’t produce a whole lot of winners in my mind, just some good films to go along with the usual stinkers dumped on the public every year. But Spike Jonze’s latest is easily his best. What’s unique about Her is that it’s both a social commentary on technology, without being heavy-handed or beat the audience’s head over with a mallet, but also on human interactions and the ebbs and flow of relationships, and he masterfully lays it out.
But even beyond the story and plot, which by the end does take a bit of time to process (or at least for me it did), the performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Scarlet Johansson’s voice, are all incredible, especially the latter who manages to tug at one’s heart even though we never actually get to see her (not counting the surrogate scene). Phoenix was incredible in his role going through the emotions which start off reserved with “Samantha” before becoming intense to the point where his OS was his girlfriend… and with Samantha feeling the same way; Phoenix’s multifaceted performance from his dour beginnings to his relationship with his ex and finally falling in love with Samantha, and all the ups and downs that is entailed with such an unusual love story, he deserved more recognition.
The supporting cast is pretty much limited to Amy Adams who serves well as Theo’s best friend who herself is involved with her own OS while Olivia Wilde, who appears only for maybe 5-minutes, is one of the more interesting and even memorable characters. Finally, Rooney Mara also has a brief appearance as Theo’s ex and her one key scene, along with some memory flashbacks, provides insight into Theo before this movie and the catalyst to the story.
Admittedly I’m not a huge fan of Spike Jonze only mildly enjoying Adaptation and Being John Malkovich for their quirkiness in both story and characters, but Her takes his career to a new level with raw emotion on several fronts. Easily his best movie, I highly recommend it as it stirs up so many feelings and even a couple days later, still resonates with me. Well deserving of the Best Original Screenplay win and for me, actually reminded me of Lost in Translation (written and directed by Jonze’s ex, Sofia Coppola), so if you liked that movie, you’ll probably dig Her as well.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and inside contains a redemption code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy and the retail DVD Copy.
The Untitled Rick Howard Project (24:19; HD) is a pseudo documentary with behind-the-scenes footage of making Her.
Her: Love in the Modern Age (15:10; HD) provides insights from various people about love and relationship.
How Do You Share Your Life with Someone (3:56; HD) is just dialogue from the movie set against BTS footage.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
The movie is shown in 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec) and presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. This might not be a film that will pop out at you as it’s mostly dark, but when Jonze shows off the L.A. or Shanghai skylines, it looks brilliant while the detail levels on both background and foreground objects are sharp and clear.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything extraordinary but dialogue sounds crisp coming from the center speaker as the limited amount of music, though important, makes use of the front and rear channels the most. I wouldn’t call it a robust track however it’s still gets the job done especially during the quieter moments.
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, Her is not only a moving and emotionally charged film about relationships and technology, but it also features an incredible performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson (her voice anyway) with honorable mention to Amy Adams. The Blu-ray released by Warner Brothers features great video, good audio and some so-so bonus materials.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.