Love Story

“Who would have guessed, after a year of headlines about the N.S.A. and about the porousness of life online, that our worries on that score — not so much the political unease as a basic ontological fear that our inmost self is possibly up for grabs — would be best enshrined in a weird little romance by the man who made Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are? And it is romantic: Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) click together as twin souls, not caring that one soul is no more than a digital swarm.

New Yorker illustration by Owen Freeman.

“Sad, kooky, and daunting in equal measure, Her is the right film at the right time. It brings to full bloom what was only hinted at in the polite exchanges between the astronaut and hal, in 2001: A Space Odyssey and, toward the end, as Samantha joins forces with like minds in cyberspace, it offers a seductive, nonviolent answer to Skynet, the system in the Terminator films that attacked its mortal masters. We are easy prey, not least when we fall in love. The human heart is where the tame things are.” — from Anthony Lane‘s New Yorker review (dated 12.23).

  • Glenn Kenny

    Nice that you are outsourcing your spoilers to Anthony Lane.

    • pizan‹ćamore

      Thanks for the heads-up. This place is a minefield.

    • Jeffrey Wells

      A spoiler? Where?

      • Glenn Kenny

        You’re kidding/trolling, right? If not, see phrase “join forces.” Jesus.

  • brenkilco

    Wasn’t that anxious to see this when you were painting it as a cyberspace Romeo and Juliet. Even less so when Lane is suggesting a creepy remake of Colossus: The Forbin Project with a more seductive computer. What is this thing?

  • merton82

    Her is an effective mood piece but critics are heaping way too much praise on it. Put aside “Theodore Twombly”, the Andersonville moniker that was spit out of some faux-literary name generator – Phoenix’s character is still such a mopey-earnest hipster doofus, so fucking soft and “gee golly” about falling in love with an operating system, that I felt trapped. There was not enough darkness in him, and as much as the film gently satirized the preciousness of techno-hipster culture, it also reveled in it in an ingratiating way. I did like the melancholy Tokyo-L.A. setting, and as others have pointed out, Johansson’s great. But a classic it is not.

  • Kano’s_Razor

    Seriously, Jeff (with the spoilers)?? This movie barely — and I repeat, barely — opened at the time of this post (and that was only in NY, LA, Toronto, etc.) and you’re already spraying your “spoiler scent” all over the Interwebz?

    I know you dig the flick and all, and award season has become beyond crazy with its rush to not only see everything but categorize things as either masterpieces or disasters, but — in the immortal words of Cris Carter — “C’mon, MAN!”.

    A simple one-word heads-up is literally ALL it takes…

  • JoeS

    1. Yes, there should be a giant SPOILER BANNER on this. And, at least put said spoiler below the jump. Damn glad I already saw the movie (the trailer gives away a lot as at is)

    2. Scarlett. Oscar nominee? Ah, no. Not even the best supporting female performance in this movie. That would be Amy Adams.