It is truly astonishing how one simple movie can exude as much pure, unabashed warmth and soul as Spike Jonze’s “Her”. A film that—like its larger-than-life characters— uses its ideas on modern relationships to evolve and becomes something entirely bigger than itself: The definitive celluloid embodiment of true love.
There are no half-assed moments of faked brooding right before two tweens begin to awkwardly touch each other. Just one man, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who despite his name and raised high-waters is a man who believes in love so much a world without it depresses him. Soon he falls in love with a highly advanced operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johanssen) and challenges the boundaries on what constitutes as love.
At first perky and oblivious, Samantha has no idea about the world around her, unaware of what exactly torments Theodore. But as their relationship grows she begins to truly connect with and the two form a bond they would only make the hardest of stone leave untouched. In other words, the result is a human relationship that makes all others look strange and unfulfilled, which is saying something when Theo runs around holding a camera device like a madman. As they talk, joke and even make love (sort of) you feel as though you watching the only two people (sort of) in the world who have ever truly loved, and share every smile and every blow.
But like love itself, the movie is immensely complicated and is designed to give the viewer a wide array of interpretations on its true meaning. Is it symbolic for our love of technology grown stronger by our disjointed sense of sociability? Or is it simply a tried and true love story that proves anyone can find, learn and live from love?
All of this and more are viable conclusions, and it is all thanks to director Spike Jonze (“Adaptaion”, “Where the Wild Things Are”) who cascades his movie with beautiful imagery, cloaked in constant shades of pink that washes over like a sea of splendid joy. It seems no one better understands what it means to truly have feelings for someone, and he conveys everything from the happiest of times to the most heartbreaking moments in recent memory like a pro. I couldn’t show it because my buddy was with me but, in the movie’s final moments, you could fill a fountain pen with the number of tears in my system, and then write a Nicolas Sparks book from cover to cover with it—and it would probably be better too.
With an undeniably charming and heartfelt script, and performances to boot, Jonze has created a love story as rooted in warmth and splendor as it is in complexity— not the kind of confusing Terrance Malick way—but in a way that will reward by the buckets with every viewing. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go and cry myself to sleep.