Capsule Review: Her

Her 2013Her shows us an impersonal world, a colder world where even the warmest hearted individual is often surrounded by an isolating and sterile atmosphere. Work is done in isolation from others. Even sex is seen as an isolating event.
Conversations are all one-sided, as we see people walk by on the streets-each in their own separate bubble of solitude. This theme of separation and isolation really dominate the film. It’s been suggested that this movie is about the nature of love, but it’s really the isolating nature of the future we are witnessing. It’s the future we’ve set up for ourselves. The couples in the movie surround themselves with separate visions of technological progress and they work hard to establish their own individual identities. Therefore, it’s even harder to penetrate the layers of technology that engulf each of us. This seems to be the underlying message. Even as we’re together in body, we are alone and separated from one another by our own free will.
This shows us a sobering yet realistic tale of the future that rings true. It’s a future we may find hard to accept, yet in the end we don’t want to look away.
The performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson –she’s the voice of the operating system –are compelling and pitch-perfect. The solitary nature of the main character is given a sympathetic and honest face with the performance by Phoenix. He leads us into this world where each individual is placed in a kind of vacuum of existence. In the end, there’s not a lot of answers, but there are many interesting questions raised by this future world.
What is the future of our relationships when so much of our time leads us down a virtual rabbit hole that is void of all human contact? How could we recognize a real or simulated emotion if we have no experience with genuine human emotions? What makes a relationship real and lasting? And what is the true nature of love in this future world? These are the great questions raised as part of the landscape we are drawn into in Her.

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at

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