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Movie review: ‘Her’

By Michael B. Murphy

There were so many ways for Spike Jonez’s “Her” to have gone wrong.

First off, “Her” is a love story that is equal parts romantic comedy and dramatic character study. Jonez had a fine line to walk while he wrote and directed “Her” – if the laughs were too frequent than the dramatic moments of “Her” could easily have become compromised and, conversely, had the film been too overbearing with the drama than the comedic moments ran the risk of feeling out of place or tacked on and forced. Secondly, the movie takes place in the not-too-distant-future, so it’s also a sci-fi film.

Finally, did I mention it’s about a guy who falls in love with and starts dating a computer operating system?

Well, apparently there was no need to worry as “Her” is an instant classic. A lesson in restraint, the laughs come about organically from the story and the drama of watching Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) move on from a failed marriage, and the difficulties and joy he experiences in dating Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) – an A.I. operating system that has developed consciousness.

Subdued and introspective, “Her” is a meditation on modern human relationships and contemplates the role technology plays in human interaction. Does it isolate us from one another? Or perhaps technology will allow us to never be lonely again.

Only time will tell.

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