Movie review — New film Her delves deeper, explores interaction, growth, between man and machine

The story line — a man falling in love with a computer operating system — is one that warrants a chuckle. But the finished product is one of the most beautiful films SUBMITTED PHOTO - New love -- Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) takes a stroll down a Los Angeles beach with Samantha, his operating system girlfriend, in 'Her, which opened Jan. 10

“Her” explores not only a different form of a relationship, but emotional growth and devastation anyone can relate to. Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is going through a divorce, lonely and unsure of himself. As a letter writer for www.beautifulhand, he spends his days writing heartfelt pieces for others. Placed in the near-future, he purchases the latest software, OS1, an artificial intelligence operating system that promises to understand the user.

Upon introduction, he begins to develop a relationship with Samantha (beautifully voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Their relationship starts slowly with Samantha reorganizing Twombly’s files, but picks up pace as Samantha’s curiosity drives her constantly changing sense of self. They quickly develop more than a professional relationship. After a quick uncomfortable sex scene, the two explore the un­known. Throughout you can feel each emotion — which is a testament to each actor’s abilities, as most of the screen time centers around Phoenix talking with Johansson’s voice. Watching the couple, you feel their joy, their frustration, their love.

Expressions and vocal tone play a large part in the film, but the writing is superb, as a number of lines attest to: “The past is just a story we tell ourselves.” “Love is just a form of socially accepted insanity.” “The heart isn’t like a box that fills up; it expands the more you love.”

Somehow, while experiencing the exploration of Twombly and Samantha, the film encourages the viewer to explore themselves. Perhaps this is because despite the unique relationship, the basis is something everyone can relate to.

Writer and director Spike Jonze could have easily made the film more comedic, perhaps a commentary on the expanding reliance on technology, but instead chose a heartfelt look into emotions and humans connection — something viewers will appreciate.

“Her” opened Jan. 10.

Contract Publishing

Go to top