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“Her” Offers Computerized Love Angst

Harry Hamm
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harry star 3andahalfstars Her Offers Computerized Love Angst

Joaquin Phoenix is, in my opinion, the finest actor of his generation. He’s kind of the Marlon Brando of his age. That said, I believe he was the perfect choice to play a guy in love with a computer operation system.

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Photo courtesy of IMDB

Set in an upscale Los Angeles in the near future, Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a lonely, heartbroken divorced man living in a beautiful high rise apartment as sterile as his love life. He works as a writer for a specialized service company that writes letters for people who don’t think they can do it themselves. The Internet dating sites don’t work for Theodore, but he has found an operating system that for a fee and an answer to some personal questions will design the perfect “mate” for you and provide the introduction.

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Photo courtesy of IMDB

In Theodore’s cast, that introduction is to the voice of Samantha, portrayed with sultry irresistibility by Scarlett Johansson. It’s love at first syllable. Wouldn’t any guy feel that way if Scarlett Johansson called them?

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Photo courtesy of IMDB

As Samantha begins to get used to Theodore, their conversations deepens, as does their affinity for one another. Even after attempting a date with a girl who wasn’t on a hard disk, Theodore can’t shake his growing love and friendship for Samantha, nor does he want to.

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Photo courtesy of IMDB

But as in any love story, things begin to fade a bit as Samantha admits her learning curve is getting complex, and she has even dabbled in other “relationships” while talking to Theodore. In fact, she tries to set up a sexual encounter with a real live girl she is talking to for Theodore, but it’s a cumbersome unworkable effort at best. Bottom line, love hurts, even with an operating system. Perhaps there’s too much memory?

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Photo courtesy of IMDB

“Her” has an outstanding supporting cast that includes Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader. I enjoy a film that takes a chance and tries to do something unconventional, and “Her” is exactly that. The love story between Samantha and Theodore is real, so real it even falls prey to “normal” misunderstandings and communications pitfalls. I thought the film sometimes dragged when trying to show Theodore’s personal quandary. It was, at times, too self-indulgent. And besides, when your operating system isn’t working, you just get another, right?

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