This review reportedly contains spoilers.
This was a huge surprise: I wasn’t sure if I would like it, having been aware of the subject matter and thinking it was quite weird. But in the hands of director Spike Jonze and star Joaquin Phoenix this turns into something rather special.
Phoenix plays a writer who works for a company creating handwritten personalised letters for clients who presumably do not have the time or the nous to write for themselves. He lives at a time where techology is a step ahead from where we are now, with interactive games, and ultimately computers who really have personalities.
So Theodore meets ‘Samantha’, the only relationship he has had which has been meaningful since splitting from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara). His friend Amy (Amy Adams) is accepting of his OS relationship, but Catherine clearly thinks it is freaky and weird.
What follows is extremely touching and strangely believable, as Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) is intelligent, funny, caring and quite the perfect partner. The slight mis-step is around their trying to find a sex surrogate, Isabella (Portia Doubleday), and the eventual discovery by Theodore that Samantha is in fact involved with many lonely men just like him.
Ultimately sad, but perceptive and challenging, ‘Her’ is a superior piece of cinema, just like Jonze’s ‘Being John Malkovich’ (but that was a film I found more satisfying, which explains why ‘Her’ rates half a star less from me).