It is love, but not as we know it. The latest offering from Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze is not your usual love-story. The film revolves around the lonely letter writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), stuck in a rut following his marriage break down to Catherine (Rooney Mara), who ends up falling in love with his new operating system, ‘Samantha’ (Scarlett Johansson).
Her may seem, on the face of it, to be different kind of rom-drama, but it still carries many of the fundamental principles of any bog-standard romantically laced film. A man, lost, begins to find himself, and together they grow… You know the rest.
The films biggest strength is its aesthetically pleasing appearance. It is a film that is good to look at, with beautiful views from high-rising buildings and high-tech gizmos that are seen frequently throughout the film, but other than this, Jonze’ latest offering is more interesting to think about than it is to actually watch.
Like a new relationship, the film has its own honeymoon period. The first twenty minutes are its strongest; witty, intelligent and just plain interesting – epitomised by an extremely cheeky (but rudely funny) virtual computer character. The flirting is funny, the dialogue is sharp, and you get the feeling this may turn out to be something special. But as we delve deeper into the pairs developing relationship, it loses its edge. Gone is its funny side, replaced by a hauntingly realistic, yet tedious, second act. `
A true romance needs a connection, and in the case of Her, it has the feeling of two individuals rather than a pair. Despite two impressive individual performances from Johansson and Phoenix, there is an ever-present feeling of disconnection that looms over the pair like a bad smell.
There is an inevitable nature about Her that adds to ones frustrations when viewing the film. It should be commended for its weird, but oddly realistic, take on relationships from a behavioural stand-point, but its slow-paced nature, matched by long-winded sequences, and added to the disjointed relationship between man and OS, leaves the film stretched and tiresome.