As writer/director, Jonze can’t fully avoid the usual tropes—the depiction of social awkwardness is more Garden State than Playtime—but the film plays beautifully despite the congenital silliness of its concept. Ensconsed in a near-future LA lux with Beijing architecture and a casual wardrobe harkening back to Demolition Man, Theodore’s wounded, childlike nature meshes instantly with Samantha’s sass-pep, irresistible even when it is patently obvious that the relationship is too good to be true. (A Freudian child psychologist could have a field day with the amount of groaning/shrugging/sleeping/whining/moping in Jonze's filmography.) If Jack Lemmon reading Shirley MacLaine’s records in The Apartment was a little creepy, Her posits a society where self-surveillance is so pervasive, routine human interaction is as up for grabs as it’s ever been. Much of the film comments visually, but not obnoxiously, on the fact that its hero is very much “in a relationship” while passing through his days and nights more alone than ever before.
Her doesn’t quite hit all its marks, but honorably keeps its questions open from start to finish, its vernacular queasily swerving from the most twee Apple commercial ever made to a thorough treatise on human isolation and emotional repression without losing any of its color. The standard promise of the last 20 years’ worth of IT—to help you better see and experience things that were always there before—is dissected even-handedly, in no small part due to Jonze’s talent for keeping the audience surprised and his razor-sharp direction of a terrific ensemble cast including Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams and Rooney Mara as Theodore’s real-talking ex.
The movie will be released in select theaters later this year.