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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Hollywood Rewind | Her: A moving portrait of love in the digital age

Also starring Rooney Mara and Chris Pratt, Her bagged five Oscar nominations. It won filmmmaker Spike Jonze an Academy Award for his superbly written screenplay.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi | Published: November 2, 2019 8:53:46 am
joaquin phoenix Her is a Spike Jonze directorial.

Her movie cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara
Her movie director: Spike Jonze
Her movie rating: 4 stars

Love in the digital age. Yes, we have had movies which fall in that space. However, the two films that are close to my heart are Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail (1998) and Spike Jonze’s Her (2013). The two features could not have been more different from each other. One a rom-com, and the other, a somewhat melancholic and realistic take on the meaning of love and what forms it has taken in this new age.

Her features Joker star Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely, separated writer Theodore Twombly who ends up falling for his Operating System (voiced wonderfully by Scarlett Johansson). So here the question arises — is love only love when it is with a living, breathing being? Can we not fall for someone’s voice alone, in the same way the people in olden days would develop long lasting (or sometimes fleeting) relationships with their ‘pen pals’?

There is no easy answer to this question. And the movie does not provide a solution, it only deals with the subject in detail in the film — it shows us what such a love can do to a person. At times sweet and often heartbreaking, Phoenix’s portrayal as the lovelorn-woebegone Theodore plays with the heart in unsuspecting ways.

Hollywood Rewind: Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | TangledMeet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

The two other players who shine in this unique movie are Amy Adams (who plays Amy, Theodore’s friend) and Johansson (who voices the Operating System Samantha). While Amy’s role is short, she ably supports Phoenix in the scenes that they share together and holds her own in the sequences. What Johansson does is more unusual; just through her voice, she makes us feel that Samantha, her character, is not just a software, but a fully developed human and as tangible as any other.

Also starring Rooney Mara and Chris Pratt, Her bagged five Oscar nominations. It won filmmaker Jonze an Academy Award for his superbly written screenplay.

Her is streaming on Hotstar and Netflix.

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