Translate this page

The Movie Review: ďHerĒ

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Issue 01, Volume 18.
Robert T. Nickerson
Special to the Valley News

I am just fascinated with the rate of development of how we use machines. Itís not that weíre using more of them, itís that computers are getting better to our responses. Siri on my iPhone is always a fun thing to play around with. Iíve given it plenty of instructions like which Michael Jackson song to play or which way to the nearest Japanese restaurant. But it is curious to request things like, "Tell me a story" (it will do that!) or "Does god exist?" (it also answers that). I may not be the biggest user of the voice recognition technology, but I have learned that my phone has started to adapt better to my questions.

Now as computers become more intelligent, how close are we to giving machines a full conscience? And if machines can think for themselves, are they allowed to have rights? Luckily, I donít think we are at that point just yet. We are the testing grounds for a future generationís artificial intelligence. All we can communicate with now are other people, but itíll be interesting how we engage in conversations with computers. Her examines just how far a relationship with a computer can go.

In the near future, Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely writer who had just gotten through a long relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Catherine (played by Rooney Mara). Though he seems to be doing all right with his job as a letter writer, he canít seem to accept that the life he loved before is over. He hasnít even signed his divorce papers.

Through a whim, he purchases a new operating system with artificial intelligence. He sets up the system to understand that heís not social and wants a female voice. What he gets is Samantha (played by Scarlett Johansson).

Unlike most operating systems, Samantha is based upon hundreds of personalities to create a computer with a morality. Theodore is fascinated about Samantha learning everything and bonds over themes of life and love. After a one-night fling with her (yes, with Samantha), Theodore Advertisement
Advertisement for Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce
[ Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce ]
decides to put himself in a romantic relationship with his operating system. In the meantime, his friend Amy (played by Amy Adams) has just divorced her husband and she too develops a relationship with the OS that he left behind.

They both contemplate whether relationships with machines are acceptable and whether they can be done.

Any film that has director Spike Jonze behind the story makes me excited. Heís the kind of storyteller that isnít afraid to take chances and really push with how much humans are capable of.

Her is the kind of science-fiction movie that Iíve been waiting for; something progressive, but dystopian at the same time. There is clearly a theme of how much we are attracted to our technology like smartphones and such. Itís trying to show us of what the next step in evolution is in that favor. I like how this movie establishes a brilliant device; just that it was put into the wrong hands.

I will also say that the science-fiction aspect is a small part. This is really a romance. And an inventive, brilliant one it is. Her is smart, funny, and sweeter than most typical Valentineís Day junk Iíve seen. Spike Jonze has a knack for picking great actors.

Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Rooney Mara all are perfectly fitting in their roles as different people going through relationships, and have different opinions about computer relationships. The big steal here is Scarlett Johansson who manages to bring a lot of personality all through voice. Yes, thereís no hologram, animated character or even text on a computer trying to be her. Itís all just her voice from the machine that would make any man fall for this computer.

Iíll give this five artificial intelligent operating systems out of five. Her is a new kind of romance that may seem silly on paper, but has managed to bring a lot of philosophical ideals on love. This is a movie that people will talk about for decades.

Robert T. Nickerson is a film critic. His work can be seen at



arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!

Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Crown Hill Pizza


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds