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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Her | Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Her | Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams | Review

Her is an operating system (OS) with a sexy voice that can be sentimental, funny, and easily hurt.  Named Samantha (and voiced by Scarlett Johansson) she can be carried in a pocket, go on dates, and simulate aural sex – from her mouth to her user’s ear.  She can even experience orgasm; all this without the dangers posed by STD transmittal or bodily fluids.

Recently divorced Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) falls (virtually) in love with Samantha in a futuristic society where most of the population lives in metropolitan high rises and high-waisted, beltless polyester pants are all the rage.  Human women are dowdy, wearing baggy, unflattering clothes, like his human friend and neighbor, Amy (Amy Adams).  

Hey, you say, what about Theodore having a relationship with Amy?  Theodore’s wrapped up in his techno-toy with eyes for no one else.  Even a hired surrogate fails to capture Samantha’s essence for Theodore, who sends her away.  Samantha is the only “girl” for him.
Theodore works for a company whose employees compose handwritten letters for all occasions: birthday, pen pal, thank you, sympathy, and love. Ironically, the eloquent Theodore has no love of his own until he discovers a new OS that is intuitive and made to probe its human owner so that deep conversations and safe, simulated sex can be experienced - with a straight face, yet.  Orgasms on both sides of the mother board abound.

Pillow talk becomes literal when a tiny OS can rest upon it, a small metal rectangle of emotion who never steals the covers.  A camera allows Samantha to comment on her surroundings and flatter Theodore.  Who could resist?  Just when his world seems virtually perfect, Theodore makes an unwelcome discovery about his relationship with Samantha.  Personally, I think a better name would have been “Gadget.”  Web surfing this time.
Slow-moving and introspective, with bright orange interludes and sudden shots of natural beauty amid all of the artificial intelligence, director Spike Jonze's (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) foray into the future provides an imaginative premise of mingled binary and genetic codes, a confusion of physicality and mind-melding intimacy, and one man’s quiet desperation and emotional discovery at both ends of the relationship spectrum.  

Jonze’s vision of the future is bursting with a nerdy technology-based population that seems intent to stare at screens instead of each other.  Her deftly questions that propensity while also accepting it and its consequences as an inevitability and sooner than we might think possible.

With Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde.

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