Wednesday, January 22, 2014

'Her' is the Man

After seeing the new critically acclaimed film Her by Spike Jonze, I heard a lot of hmmmms as the theatre lights went up. My friend's mother, who had made that kind of parental 'tseh' noise of disapproval periodically (especially during the sexual parts), said that it was "the worst movie in fifty-five years," and I mentally responded with exclamation points. Seriously? It's the single most terrible film in the last five decades––your lifetime? Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) make one of the sweetest, single-tear-inducing, "real" couples in recent romances.

I almost understand the skepticism and objection to Her from those who haven't seen it (and to that, I also add, "Don't knock it 'til you try it.") because the previews are vague and really emphasize the whole man-machine relationship, making many hesitant. The common opinion about the movie from this population of non-viewers tends to revolve around how "it's just so icky/weird/unnatural/creepy/disturbing," and my only response to these complaints is this: just go see it.

Here's why Her is seriously one of the best films of my lifetime (which, unlike friend's mom, in only two decades):

1) It's cinematically breathtaking, and I mean breathtaking not only because it's beautiful, but because it actually surprises you in a romantic, delightful sort of way. 

We hear the popular description, man falls in love with operating system, and imagine a white and chrome environment, cornea-searing reflection off polished surfaces, and body-hugging outfits that suggest a sort of non-humanness while also sexiness. Instead, everything is sun-washed in dreamy sunset hues that remind you of impressionistic art. It's hazy with warm slashes of sunlight and interiors are filled with a clean coziness––airy, colorful, and semi-worn so that you want to spend Saturday brunch with the tenants.

Clothing wise, people wear normal people attire. Clothes are somewhat ill-fitting so that we actually believe these people are real like us who don't have everything perfectly tailored. Scenes are slowly expansive, while deeply intimate so that we're not too much a part of this near future, but we understand it.

2) It's not as creepy as it sounds.

In all seriousness, the sexual stuff is potentially uncomfortable (company is highly influential in uncomfortability factor) but brief. Very little time is actually invested in the "physical" component of a relationship, but rather explores the evolution of a relationship in an almost exclusively verbal fashion––something most films with just humans fail to do.

We are so used to seeing people move from hand-holding, to kissing, to etc., etc., but don't grasp how they way we talk to each other changes. And in Her we hear this. Nervous hellos, playful questions about favorite everythings, long deep conversations about apparently nothing. It's refreshing.

3) Melancholy prevails in Her.

I'm not going to say how specifically, because I'm too nice and hopeful that you'll see the movie to give away the ending. Without spoiling too many details: the range of emotions is vast, and with that comes an earnest longing that leads to a little empty feeling. It's so full of thought, and love, and just good stuff––the relationship is (and the movie)––that this small emptiness leaves you feeling both happy and sad in the most delicate way. What's missing is not exactly a second body in the relationship, but it's something that none of us, even Samantha and Theodor can attain.

Photo via Her Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm all about conversation over here, so what's on your mind?