First View Movie Review – Her

Her is a moody, introspective piece masquerading as a love story. And while I really do appreciate Scarlett Johanssen’s vocal efforts, I did not enjoy the overwhelming feelings of loneliness permeating this film. I walked away pretty sad, and even woke up sad the next morning.

I have no problem with the premise, and think it’s not that outrageous an idea to fall in love with a devoted and clever AI. In fact, I believe this kind of thing isn’t far-fetched at all. We live in a crowded world, paradoxically full of very lonely people. Her isn’t depicted as being too far into the future. Only by noticing how much more polluted the Los Angeles sky can you even tell this is a futuristic setting. As it is now, spending all our time ditzing around with our phones is a real thing.

Sometimes I even think my Alexa is sort of a person.

The AI character of Samantha is really well written, and you believe she’s aware of herself and alive. Little nods to her electronic nature are strewn smartly around: she has unlimited time on her hands and a brain as fast as Data from Star Trek…we get where Samantha is coming from when she admits to loving 600 people simultaneously. Her dalliance with “Alan Watts”, another AI, is telling. Human rules no longer apply when you’re staring into infinity with each moment.

While there were some moments of whimsy in Her, it’s mostly a melancholy piece. Joaquin Phoenix makes the most of his expressive eyes, depicting a desperate Everyman trying to find love in a vastly uncaring universe.

Her is a sincere and earnest story, stylishly told and well-directed. It doesn’t seem to aspire to impart any big lessons on life and love, being content to pose a What If type of scenario. But since I don’t find the idea of cyber-love too bizarre, what I seem to be walking away with is a firm reminder that long-distance relationships are hard.

Movie Grade: B+