Her by Dan Roberts

When I woke up this morning I first of all checked my phone and then leant over and kissed my wife before getting out of bed. If Spike Jonze is to be believed I may simply be an early adopter and not just an unromantic husband.

Set in the near future, Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore who, when not writing heartfelt ‘old fashioned’ letters as a way of paying the bills, laments the deterioration of his marriage. A new computer operating system (OS) seems to be the answer to his problems as the artificial intelligence is so highly developed it is possible to form a full and serious relationship with it.

Phoenix’s performance is heartbreaking as he shambles around a city wonderfully shot in muted colours. He really seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders before downloading the new OS who opens his eyes to happiness again.

Although Her has been tagged as a sci-fi it really is an old fashioned romance with the common themes of jealousy and insecurity coming to the fore as in any ‘conventional’ drama. I did wonder whether the story would be anywhere near as captivating if it was Scarlett Johansson in the flesh as a real woman as opposed to just the voice. Or if it would play out as a romantic cliche. But the beauty of the film lies in the romantic bond of the leads (as well as a great supporting performance by Amy Adams).

There are some nice touches of only just futuristic behaviours such as everyone wittering away to their phones oblivious to those around them. And it is interesting that the film is set at a time when dating your OS isn’t quite acceptable to everyone. But at the core of the film is a beautiful romance which is totally believable even with its unorthodox pairing – and that’s to the credit of all involved.

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