BY: VIVIAN GATICA
Fast forward to the near future. Technology is at its highest and everything is run by computers. Everyone walks around talking to their operating systems, and lives off complete introversion. This is “Her.”
In the middle of a divorce with his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself stuck in his own loneliness, seeking solace with his new highly advanced operating system Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
What starts as a friendship, quickly turns into something more as Theodore realizes how humanlike Samantha really is and falls in love with her.
Conflicted with the reality of his relationship, Theodore finds himself questioning whether or not his feelings for Samantha are true or a product of his own solitude.
Spike Jonze captures this story perfectly. Under his direction, every song, scene and dialogue exchanges, along with an excellent cast, come together to produce a beautiful film with a clear message of valuing personal relationships.
The performances of Phoenix and Johansson are superb, given that the pair did not actually film together, yet the chemistry between them was dominantly present. Phoenix gave his character life and color, and although one would usually find his relationship with Samantha to be a psychological disorder, he truly loved her and it was hard to not take their relationship seriously.
This, of course, would not be possible without Jonze’s screenplay, which features romantic dialogue without going over the top, like many films of its genre do. Jonze crafts the script in a way that confronts what would seem to be a bizarre love story to show audiences that faulty social stigma that exists in today’s society.
This makes him the frontrunner in the Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay category, given that he has swept the same category throughout the awards season.
To add to this, the cinematography and sweet sounds of Arcade Fire and Karen O blend well to create an ambiance of serenity. These elements work together to illustrate the peace Theodore feels in finding love again, while Samantha teaches him what went wrong in his failed marriage and helps him correct them in theirs.
“Her” definitely has all the potential to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. That said, with “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” in the race, it is a long shot. However, “Her” is a strong dark horse contender and a beautiful film, and it would be a great surprise to see it take home the Oscar.