Her (2013) - While there’s a lot to praise here - the story is thought-provoking and the performances are superb - what I love most about Her is its production design. K.K. Barrett, Spike Jonze, and Casey Storm have done a superb job of conceptualizing and bringing to fruition a recognizable yet equally distant believable near future. From the clothes to the color pallete to the furniture to the industrial design, no small detail has been overlooked - and it looks uniformly amazing.
I love the trousers. I love the shirts. I love the voice-interface computers. I love the UX/UI design of the operating systems. I love the architecture design (an amalgam of current Los Angeles and Shanghai). I love the video game design. I love the furniture design. I love the 747 sculpture. Everything simply looks incredible, and is different enough from the present to unquestionably represent the “other” while not being too different to come across as gimmicky.
Lest I lose my focus or praise the film for the wrong reasons, however, it’s also important to note that the story really is compelling. I may have had preconceived notions about the believably of the story going into it, but coming out of it, it felt natural and intuitive. And unbelievably authentic.
Every range of human emotion is explored here, and the full spectrum of relationship phases is represented with startling authenticity. Being that Spike Jonez wrote the screenplay, I can only surmise that he’s broken up with a partner or two over his time, because that aspect of the story feels completely genuine.
Yet the story only works because it’s brought to life through Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson’s performances, which are both superb and natural. In particular, Johansson’s voice acting lives up to the hype - it’s as if she were on set reacting in real time.
Whether you view this film with a sci-fi perspective or from a romance perspective, I think you’ll find it delivers. Quite impressive.
- R. Carrier