Cinematic Releases: Her

The team up of Jonze and Joaquin proves to be a masterful one with Her.

"Hahaha...I totally got you guys
with I'm Still Here."
Spike Jonze is in the rare breed of directors that can take an artistic idea and translate it to the screen with subtlety and grace, always staying true to his vision and never sacrificing for anything stagnant or expected. Her defies all preconceived notions of science fiction or romance. It's a vision of the near future when romantic relationships are suddenly being founded on operating systems that are fully interactive and are strangely human in their method of communication.

Jonze has always been an eclectic director full of ingenuity. Her is his most heartfelt and profound work. Not only is it a commentary on where society and its obsession with technology is headed, its a passionate piece that speaks volumes for failed relationships, broken people, and the emotional wreckage they leave behind.

Something about Her touched me on a level I've not felt from a film in years. It's a journey through the eyes of a man lost then found again ....when he finally finds true love with a non-human entity. The premise sounds strange but the film features an impactful social message while manipulating you (the viewer) to fall in love with an interactive operating system named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

"What's that I'm staring at?
Oh, it's the new height of
my career!"
After his 2010 stunt film, I'm Still Here, Phoenix has come back stronger than ever before. His performance in Her is absolutely heartfelt and deeply mesmerizing. He transforms himself into a lost soul with such precision that you quickly forget you're watching the actor that put his career on the line for a pet project. It's with knowledge of his resume that I say his transcendent performance in Her is the role of his lifetime. Phoenix finally lays all his cards on the table and distinctly sets himself apart from every other actor of his generation by offering something no one else will: honest to goodness unquestionable emotion that made me forget anything and everything he's ever done in the past. I know longer saw Joaquin on screen. I saw a sad lost soul named Theodore, a man yearning for the true love of a soul mate. If he doesn't win an Oscar for this role, I'll be shocked, saddened, and totally amazed.

Her sits atop the list of the best films of 2013. It's premise will force audiences to think hard about their relationships, past and present. It's a near perfect romantic vision brought to you by a director that never sells himself short of greatness. The music is beautiful. The mildly futuristic set design is perfect. And the tone is masterfully set in stone with performances from an eccentric and diverse cast of today's most adept actors. As a closing piece to 2013, Her will stand out as one of the best films of this decade.

-Review by Chris George