Critics in Love With Her

Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson star in Spike Jonze film

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2014 11:28 AM CST

(Newser) – Critics are applauding Spike Jonze's Her, a boy-meets-OS story starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with his thinking, feeling computer, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Highlights from the reviews:

  • "With his extraordinary new film Her, Spike Jonze has made a heartrending romance that will ring true for all those who've found, lost, or are still impatiently awaiting their own soul mate. In other words, it's for all of us," writes Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. "Jonze is a master at transforming genres, and with Her, he renders formulaic romantic dramedies instantly obsolete."

  • At Slate, Dana Stevens agrees that it's about more than technology. "Her isn’t, in the end, a political or socio-cultural satire, much less a nostalgic tract about the need to throw away our devices and truly live. It’s a wistful portrait of our current love affair with technology in all its promise and disappointment, a post-human Annie Hall."
  • In the Atlantic, Christopher Orr calls the movie the best of the year. "Though intimate in scope, Her is vast in its ambition. Every time it seems that Jonze may have played out the film’s semi-comic premise, he unveils an unexpected wrinkle, some new terrain of the mind or heart to be explored." As for the actors, "Phoenix is heartbreaking in his vulnerability," and Johansson's "voice—breathy, occasionally cracking—warms the entire film."
  • "At once a brilliant conceptual gag and a deeply sincere romance, Her is the unlikely yet completely plausible love story about a man, who sometimes resembles a machine, and an operating system, who very much suggests a living woman," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "The great question isn’t whether machines can think, but whether human beings can still feel."

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from the Spike Jonze film Her.
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from the Spike Jonze film "Her."   (AP Photo/ Warner Bros. Pictures)
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A trailer for the film.   (YouTube)

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