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  • September 23, 2014

Movie Review—Her - Ladue News: Home

Movie Review—Her

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Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014 2:09 pm | Updated: 11:03 am, Mon Jan 13, 2014.

Let’s just get this over with: Clearly, I am missing something. Critics and audiences are blown away by this movie—it’s being called a tribute to post-modern societal detachment. I’m calling it a boring, obvious pedantic tale better suited for a short story--a very short story--than a two-hour film. So, without further ado.

In the not-so-distant future, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) lives in a virtual world. He works for an online service that provides correspondence for other people--love letters, thank-you notes, etc. He communicates electronically, relaxes with video games, and even his intimate interactions are through the airwaves. A heart-wrenching divorce has caused Theodore to retreat to the comfort and emotional safety of a virtual reality. And that’s where he meets Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Samantha is not a who--she's a what, an artificially intelligent operating system designed to adapt to Theodore’s needs and since all his needs are computer needs, she quickly becomes an extremely meaningful part of his life. Theodore falls in love.

It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to understand Theodore’s response, but there are many aspects of this film that make it an interesting exploration. In the film, dating an operating system is not unique or even frowned upon; it’s met with the same uninterested shrug as telling someone you’re dating a person of a different race or religion. Scene after scene depicts Theodore’s world as one of isolation where individuals have created their own private world and even other humans are only included electronically. Even Theodore’s neighbor, Amy (Amy Adams), finds more comfort from an operating system than from her own husband. The film makes a lot of thought-provoking and valid points; that didn’t stop me from looking for the lever to pull to drop a safe on my head. I found the movie tedious and un-engaging. It’s a 5.

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