Spike Jonze has done it again. It took him 14 years, but he has made a second film as visionary and deeply profound as Being John Malkovich. Her is not the unqualified masterpiece that is Being John Malkovich, but it is a very great film. Praise for Her is universal, and this time the critics got it right — a rarity in 2013. Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times:
Filmed with a bright crispness that speaks of a nostalgia for the future, “Her” is a touching, buoyant pleasure. You never know where this movie is going (though there are hints, if you’re looking for them), but you want to follow it. Phoenix and Johansson — or, rather, Phoenix’s face and Johansson’s voice — make the year’s oddest movie couple … and, perhaps, the most irresistible.
Jonze creates the splendid anachronism of a movie romance that is laugh-and-cry and warm all over, totally sweet and utterly serious.
My take: the idea of emotional attachment to an artificial intelligence is in and of itself not the profound novelty of this movie. It’s the poetic, lyrical way it’s executed that makes Her so great. Spike Jonze really got it right here, and all the performances are superb. Joaquin Phoenix has I think emerged as an actor who’s almost ahead of Ryan Gosling as a completely compelling, fascinating presence on screen. His strong performances were at the center of Walk The Line and The Master [prior post], and off on a completely divergent direction he provides the foundation here.
Now I know this movie is not for everybody. Some people would find it downright tortuous to sit through. If that’s the case, this blog is not for you. Because I don’t care what the mood or genre or specific subject matter of a movie is. “Chick Flick” is not a term I use. All I care is whether or not a movie is good.
If you liked P.T. Anderson’s great film Punch-Drunk Love [prior post], you should like this one. It’s different a hundred times over, but they both deliver odd but profound visions of romantic love that are rare in cinema. If you haven’t seen Punch-Drunk Love, then just go with the preview — if it appeals to you, definitely see this. And more to the point, if you ‘get’ my blog, that is if you like great movies, you’ll like Her. 9/10