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Bettie's Box Office: Her Movie Review
Updated: Friday, January 10 2014, 03:29 PM CST
Love can be awkward and complicated, especially when one of you is an operating system.
In Her, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) can’t break out of his funk after his marriage falls apart. He buys a new computer operating system, known as OS1 (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), touted as the first systems capable of evolving and learning from experiences.
Right out of the box, Theodore finds comfort with OS1 and before too long, they’re in love, even though she doesn’t exist in the physical world. That adds some confusion to a 2-minute virtual sex scene that takes place in the dark, but it’s only the beginning. Nobody seems shocked as more and more people begin having relationships with their OSes, and nobody gets worried when the OSes start chatting with each other (can you say Skynet?)
Phoenix’s sad-sack face fills the screen for much of the movie. He's strong in the role, but that's a lot to take on in one close-up after another.
Johansson’s voice is very expressive and distinctive, but that’s part of the problem. She’s so familiar that it’s hard not to mentally picture her in the room.
A bright spot is Amy Adams (who’s great in every role) as Theodore’s friend from college whose own marriage is on the rocks.
Her seems like a movie that critics will feel obligated to praise but I think a lot of audience members will walk out trying to figure out its message. Is virtual love better than no love? Are we too enthralled with technology? Why does everyone in the near-future wear high-waisted polyester pants?
I’d recommend you ponder these profound questions with the DVD and don’t let your DVD player talk you out of it.
Her opens in Austin on January 10 and is Rated R for language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity.