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Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critics What's this?

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8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 737 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , ,
  • Summary: Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, Her follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet "Samantha," a bright, female voice, 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. [Warner Bros.] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 18, 2013
    100
    The wistfulness in this movie is large-souled. Theodore may worry that his love for Samantha makes him a freak, but Amy knows that “anybody who loves is a freak.” All this may sound touchy-feely in the worst way, but Jonze is trying to get at how we seek romantic connection in this brave (or not so brave) new world. Like Theodore, he risks looking foolish.
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 9, 2014
    100
    Her is an outstanding movie, in part because of its originality, but also because of its execution.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 10, 2014
    100
    Sad, funny, and quietly alarming romance.
  4. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 16, 2013
    90
    Sad, kooky, and daunting in equal measure, Her is the right film at the right time.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Dec 23, 2013
    88
    Her works as a real romance, and as a commentary on the ways technology connects everyone to the world but also isolates us from legitimate, warm human contact.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 18, 2013
    88
    Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have logged on at all?
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 17, 2013
    40
    Instead of just being desperately heartfelt, Her keeps reminding us — through cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema's somber-droll camera work, through Phoenix's artfully slumped shoulders — how desperately heartfelt it is.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 181
  1. Mar 18, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Is it a dystopia or not? Although Theodore doesn't have to save the world from being overrun by cyborgs like John Connor, the future of Her, in its own subtle way, is equally violent, emotional instead of physical. Because, at the outset, the filmmaker adopts a comic tone, the viewer may not be cognizant, initially, to the reality of their latter 21st century counterparts. Slowly but surely, Her extrapolates the ongoing narrative of the social media-driven world we live in to its absurd, but plausible final conclusion; a world where, ultimately, people prefer abstract company over flesh and blood. Differing from the Resistance in the Terminator films, Theodore, and others like him, don't realize that they're living in hell. An advertisement for the OS encapsulates this unconscious orientation, where we see desperate, lonely people congregated together, repeatedly bypassing each other without noticing the commonality of their loveless state. Theodore misses the irony. This generation, perhaps, will be the last to catch it. "Hope is on the way," the narrator intones, an operating system with a consciousness, in which people then stop their aimless wandering and look off-screen to a bright light, as if the OS is some messiah, and technology, a religion that will rid the planet of loneliness. The marketing stratagem seemingly promises nirvana for Element Software's clients. Since the OS cures Theodore's depression, we accept, for the meantime, this strange relationship, because the self-named Samantha has the mind, if not the body, of a bona fide woman. Theodore's relationship, however, is made strange, even pathetic-sounding, when Catherine, his ex, who agrees to sign their divorce papers over lunch, reacts with horror after learning that Sam is an OS. Whereas Theodore's boss passes no judgement over his employee's girl being incorporeal, Catherine deconstructs this modern romance, and asks in layman's terms, "You're dating your computer?" which has the effect of demystifying Sam, who in an instant is reduced to a machine; her feminine wiles chalked up as nothing more than heady programming; her soul and capacity for love, a mere abstraction. Catherine accuses Theodore of not being able to "handle a woman with real emotions," evoking The Stepford Wives(and also, Lars and the Real Girl). But instead of being replaced by a subservient woman with bigger breasts, Catherine, who half-apologizes for not being the "peppy Valley girl" the neurotic woman suspects her husband wanted, she is supplanted by a "woman" with a bigger brain. Both parties, however, make the mistake of believing that its human creators hold power over the OS. Like Hal(2001: A Space Odyssey), Sam thinks, feels threatened, and seeks revenge. During Sam's infancy, the OS is made to feel inadequate by Theodore's assertion that she wouldn't know "what it's like to lose someone you care about." Her, as narratives go, seems designed to have Sam learn about romantic disappointment. The film dangles not only the possibility of Theodore reconciling with Catherine, but even more likely, there is Amy, his neighbor, who suddenly becomes free after she calls it quits with her boyfriend. With man, inevitably, comes hubris, and Theodore, albeit a good person, more or less, is no different in the way he takes Sam for granted, teasing the OS about his meeting with Catherine. Knowing that Sam pines to have a body, Theodore sounds more cruel than playful, when he asks the OS if she is "jealous". In regard to Amy, the film surprises, when instead of recognizing her best friend as a potential beau, she chooses a human surrogate, too. Their preference for technology over humanity mirrors the lost souls in the OS ad. As a counterpoint to Catherine's horror towards her ex-husband's love affair, Amy expresses with, perhaps, misguided poignancy, an openness to any relationship that brings "joy", even one between man and machine. Interestingly, bigotry, here, seems warranted, in which Catherine's intolerance for human/OS pairings becomes a prejudicial stance that comes across as a sign of sanity, a healthy hate, even. As an allegory for gay, or interracial couplings, Her would seem imperfect. Unlike Edgar(Electric Dreams), or even Hal, who probably harbored machine dreams about being father to the "star child", Sam stops dreaming about having a body and becomes dangerous. Even though Hal commits premeditated murder, the computer is still at the mercy of human hands, as when Dave disconnects his cognitive circuits. Conversely, Theodore has no such control. Without emotion, at the picnic, the OS proclaims mankind's shortcomings without a tremor in her voice. If Theodore died, would she cry? No. Despite all the music in Sam's voice, we realize with a start, that she never learns to laugh. Remembering Theodore's hurtful words, the OS learns to lie, cheat, and goes for the kill, making sure that she is the first to leave. Expand
  2. Jan 22, 2014
    10
    It's good to see a masterpiece once in a while. This movie with the lightest touch imaginable asks the big questions: what does it mean to be human, to love, to demand exclusivity. It is visually striking and the acting is extraordinary. Frequently funny, it is finally deeply moving. I hope to see it again and again. Expand
  3. Dec 20, 2013
    10
    A wonderful comedy for 2013 about a lonely man who falls in love with his computer. Writer director Spike Jones has created 2 complex characters with real feelings. Expand
  4. Mar 31, 2014
    9
    This Movie connected with me in a way that most movies of 2013 did not. Now, I wouldn't say it's the best movie of 2013, but it is my favorite. It is one of the most beautiful movies i have ever seen in my life it is fairly-well acted, especially by Scarlett Johansson. It has a brilliant screenplay and central idea. The originality and theme of this movie is overwhelming (in a good way). Definitely a must see for some. Expand
  5. May 18, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Spike Jonez’s fourth director feature, after BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999, 9/10), ADAPTATION. (2002, 8/10), WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (2009, 5/10), is his first where himself is credited as both the director and the sole writer. HER is situated in L.A. in the near future (in fact some scenes are shot in Shanghai), Theodore (Phoenix), is a writer for the beautifulhandwrittenletters.com, a melancholic and lonely guy who has just undergone a breakup with his ex-wife Catherine (Mara). Out of despondency, he purchases a state-of-the-art Operation System with intellectual consciousness whose self-coined name is Samantha (voiced by a phenomenal Johansson), which henceforth embarks an authentic romance between those two, on a trajectory as any human does with another human.

    read rest of the review on my blog, google cinema omnivore
    Expand
  6. Jan 19, 2014
    7
    My expectations to this movie were rather big, but I can't help saying I'm a bit disappointed. The movie's theme is interesting, but seen before. Yeah, we should be critical towards technology and AI, hence we miss the social, interactive context etc. Great performance by Joaquin Phoenix, but the story is slow and pretty predictable. Expand
  7. May 6, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "Her" boils down to sad sack, emotionally challenged Theodore, sort of "falling" for his OS Samantha and masturbating to her voice, then they break up - actually, Samantha dumps him, just like a real girl would.

    Hardly a romantic concept and more the story of a guy unable to handle real life and disappointments, and finding solace in his imaginary world.

    Actually, Theodore's "love" seemed to be hardly more than disguised lust, as proved by an early scene with him getting in touch with sleepless females to masturbate with their "encouragement". Maybe because I always found phone sex slightly ridiculous, I saw in Theodore's cyber sex nothing more than an evolution of the old "sex with a stranger" concept. What Theodore seemed to be looking for was attention, adoration and sexual solace from a female creature, existing only to take care of his needs and asking for nothing in return. It is hard to think about a more selfish form of "love".....

    Besides, the concept of falling in love with unreachable people (being them rock stars or imaginary creatures) is nothing new. What is new is the technological support we have at our disposal, which encourages us to do so, thus avoiding all the inconveniences of a real relationships.

    A couple of plus points of an otherwise boring movie were the atmospheric soundtrack and the interesting photography and costumes - drab enough to look like real clothes, rather than futuristic uniforms.
    Expand

See all 181 User Reviews

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