Her ★★★★★

It's not often I watch a movie to it's entire end and very last frame, but this time I did. Mid-way through the end credits I just had to close my eyes, listen to the music, and just reflect on what I had witnessed. It hit me hard and left me speechless and teary-eyed. I don't even know if they were happy or sad tears. A little bit of both I guess.

Romantic, soulful, witty, bittersweet and smart, Spike Jonze's HER uses its "just-barely-sci-fi-enough-to-be-sci-fi"-scenario to spread some much needed wisdom about the state of modern human relationships, in a time where human face-to-face interactions is gradually being replaced with more practical and technological solutions.

I many ways HER is Jonze's way of trying to remind us that we must not forget what and who we are. He gently stretches out a hand and touches your chin with a warm, kind hand. For we must not forget the importance of touch, the importance of physical connection and intimacy.

But HER is actually WAY more than just social commentary of man's relationship with technology, actually, that's not the main force and intention of the film at all. It's more concerned with man's relationship with his inner self! But most of all: HER is a love letter from Jonze to all of us who have ever dared to feel, to be and most of all, to love (dude, I know I sound awfully pretentious). HER is a declaration of love and fascination for the entire human race and our species basic need for love through human connection, intimacy and touch!

Actually, there's more love and emotion packed in these two hours than there is in most directors' entire body of work, and this has just as much to do with the outstanding performances from the cast as it has to do with Jonze's wonderful script.

Just when you thought Joaquin Phoenix had peaked, having done masterfully well in The Master (duh) the year before, he manages to raise the bar once again! He more or less achieves the impossible and gives one of the finest performances I have ever seen in a movie. There's such a high level of sincerity in all of his words, gestures and facial expressions, that he totally encapsulates everything about Theodore.

The chemistry between Phoenix and his fellow actresses is astonishing. Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde and Rooney Mara all give their best in this, as the script gracefully lets Theodore interact with many different female characters throughout, while never losing focus on either the main love story or the sub plots (the blind date, the picnic with his co-worker, his many scenes with Amy etc). But of course it's Johansson's portrayal as Samantha and Phoenix's portrayal as Theodore that (deservingly) will get the headlines, as they share an intimacy like nothing I've seen before, without even ever being on-screen together! Samantha's a fully fleshed out character, and she don't even have flesh! Now that's nothing but amazing.

It’s kind of funny to see Theodore dancing around at a fair, holding his phone in front of him, spinning and laughing, talking to Samantha and showing her what he’s seeing through the phone’s camera. Yet his joy is so real and infectious that we easily overlook the weirdness of the situation and embrace the sheer beauty of it instead. Different in body, but similar in spirit, there are many similar moments spread throughout the film.

In the end the relationship of Theodore and Samantha perfectly mimics most real-life relationships, actually, in that way that they meet, they learn from each other, and finally grow (and develop) as a whole. But of course, if happiness can be portrayed so realistically, so can heartbreak...

No matter how the future changes or what relationships will look like in the future or how technologies advance, it's good to know that we at least have each other, and that's more than enough. We need human relationships and face-to-face interactions in our everyday life, not just to retain our sanity, but most of all, our humanity.

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