Feature

Her

A man falls in love with a computer system.

Directed by Spike Jonze
(R)

****

Spike Jonze’s offbeat near-future romance is “the right film at the right time,” said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. Watching it, we are cosseted and entertained, yet “never more than a breath away from being creeped out.” Our hero is played by Joaquin Phoenix. A warmhearted, lonely man who writes other people’s love letters for a living, Theodore Twombly one day buys an artificially intelligent computer program that speaks to him and understands him—and becomes romantically attached. The program is voiced by Scarlett Johansson, and she’s moving in the role—“arguably better than in a lot of movies where we get to see her,” said Sam Grobart in Bloomberg.com. Her “Samantha” learns and grows over time, and she’s “smart, self-aware, funny, and very sensitive” to Twombly’s moods and needs. But Phoenix has to carry the film “virtually on his own,” and he does so easily, said Richard Corliss in Time. Yes, he’s going on dates and even having sex with a mobile phone, more or less, but Phoenix “shows us what it’s like when a mourning heart comes alive.”

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