Thursday, January 09, 2014
Set in the near future (I’m guessing eleven minutes) Joaquin Phoenix signs up for a computer operating system companion. (If Siri could really talk.) She takes the name Samantha and over time they have the best romantic relationship one can have without oral sex. They also encounter problems, complications, jealousies, dead philosophers, and reception issues.
Also, notable in the cast are Chris Pratt, Matt Letscher (known to the world as Rob from ALMOST PERFECT) and Amy Adams. I’ll be honest. I know Amy is getting a lot of award buzz for her performance in AMERICAN HUSTLE (and she was terrific), but I liked her better in this. I enjoyed seeing Amy not doing an accent and not playing a “character.” She was very natural and effortless in HER. To me the mark of a great actor is when they can be great without having to work so hard. Every scene with her was a delight.
Spike Jonze is Charlie Kaufman but accessible. HER is brimming with ideas yet it’s never so weird you feel like you need to be on meth to follow it. There have been a number of movies like LARS AND THE REAL GIRL that tried to cover similar subject matter, but none has done it as well as HER. You’ll never think of your GPS system in the same way again. And the movie asks some provocative questions: is a genuine romance with a virtual partner possible? What happens if the company goes out of business? And if you are in love with your O.S., should you be allowed to drive in the carpool lane?
Go see HER. It opens nationwide tomorrow. Have Siri remind you (if she doesn't get jealous).
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM