Her is the story of Theodore Twombly, a recently divorced man who falls in love with Samantha, a version of a newly developed computer Operating System (that he randomly happens upon through some paradoxically utopic Big Brother-like advertising) that is personality specific, and artificially and boundlessly intelligent.
The movie opens into a futuristic world filled with oppressively bright colors that are all somehow simultaneously washed out, taking on this bland, depressed quality. The extensive use of frontality and tight shots/extreme close-ups really causes the viewer to poignantly feel with each character. The cinematography was romantic and effective; the shots and city environment give a sense of claustrophobia.
Moreover, every actor was excellent, from Olivia Wilde in her two-minute cameo to the unseen Scarlett Johansson to Amy Adams as Amy, Theodore's refreshingly real best friend, to Rooney Mara as Theodore’s frustrated ex-wife, all helmed by the tour de force that is Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore.
Oh, Theodore Twombly. He's a beautiful, wistful, full character with a resounding air of crippling loneliness and deep melancholy. He's affable, lovable and loving, just a puppy dog of a man, yet he's almost childlike, suspended in the world of adulthood while still unwittingly attempting to avoid all the real consequence that comes with that world: even the colors scream enfant. Just having gone through a divorce, Theodore avoids handling his own feelings and instead pours out his emotions on others' behalf as a letter writer for beautifulhandwrittenletters.com, a witty jab at the irony of our sentimentality in this age of technology. Phoenix embodies this character so strikingly; you feel every ounce of heavy loneliness, each false hope, each shred of disillusionment, each stifling disappoint, every morsel of meager carefree joy with Theodore. And despite any of Theodore's cherubic qualities, Her contains the best sex seen I've ever witnessed - and I couldn't even see it.
This film is a heartbreaking story about love and the human condition set in a world of fantasy that feels so inescapably and incredibly grounded, mortal, and real. I didn't want it to end and was so sad to walk back into our world afterwards. It was somber, but almost delightfully so; it had a lightness that was so, so heavy. In an observation that just about sums the whole story, Amy says, "falling in love... is a form of socially acceptable insanity." And I'll leave you with that.