“It’s love Jim, but not as we know it” is what Star Wars fans might have to say about this exceptional movie. Not to be confused with the iconic film of the same name “Ben-Hur”,Her is a romantic drama set not in ancient Rome but some time in the future.
Spike Jonze is always surprising and whether it’s his strange and unusual music videos for Fatboy Slim or some of his other feature films. With Her however that is very much the case.
Interestingly, we were introduced to the central character quiet early on: Theodore Twobley (played terrifically by Benitio Del Toro, in his own right an iconic actor) is something of a Walter Mitty character (recently reprised by the great Ben Stiller). Twomly reminds us of that uncle we all have who is always looking for true love. He writes short love stories for a living but at times we can’t tell if he is writing a story or speaking to his girlfriend because in the future all writing is done by speaking to your computer.
As I have pointed out Jones is always unpredictable and has a great sense of humour. However having the main love interest for the lovable scribe take the form of a computer is probably one of the more eccentric storylines you’ll see all year. The unenviable task of playing a character that gets no screen time and will be ruled out of any Oscar nominations couldn’t have fallen to a more beautiful actress.
Scarlet Johanson’s has a deep, sensual voice. With only her sultry tones as characterisation I still cared about her character as much as the leading man’s, if not more so for that very reason. I imagine she still workshopped scenes in person with Del Toro even though she were never to grace the silver screen in this movie, more’s the pity!
With Jones you always feel there will be humour and Her certainly has some funny moments. At one point Twobley and his “girlfriend” go on a double date with a normal couple with the whole scenario almost descending into farce, reminding us at once of the awkwardness of double dates as we know them but also how awkward it would be if one of the people was just a robot!
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Jonze’ direction was assured and the performances (if you could call Johansen’s that) were nothing short of brilliant, especially Mr. Del Torro. People often go to the movies with their minds already made up but to do so with Jonse would be to your detriment because you will never really know what to make of his films, because of his oblique style and humour. Beautifully shot in perfectly realised futuristic L.A. (I think it was shot in Hong Kong), this movie made me believe in an impossible love and that for one must be something.