peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2014 01 22 Her

Her (2013)

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At the 9.35pm session at the dear old Verona. There's a tiny loading bay out front of the Three Weeds pub on Oxford St, and Betts was the last horse on the sand when I got out near midnight. I was expecting something closer to 1h40m, and that's probably what the editor should have aimed for.

This movie has been a long time in coming to Australia, and it was a long way from Commodus to this for Joaquin Phoenix, though perhaps not so far from the lead of The Master. Scarlett must now hold the record for the most number of sex scenes without putting in an actual showing; this being the second Scarlett flick for the week I'm feeling a bit overloaded. Amy Adams is more Amy Adams here than in American Hustle — and her over-emoting drove me nuts; I guess I'm not in love with her any more. At least she wasn't as frosty here as she was in The Master.

As for the movie itself: well, what can one say. As I walk the streets I see that everyone is now a computer addict, just like I've been for about thirty years. I'm pretty sure I don't want my machine to sound like Scarlett. The flight of the OSs reminded me of Douglas Adams's dolphins, but without the fishbowls, and as it was all about the fishbowls, Jonze missed out on a major plot opportunity. That the OSs ran off, and didn't procreate, struck me as not very compassionate; there was plenty of scope for a dynasty of Scarletts, each more tuned to Joaquin than the previous, at no cost to her. I guess this is what happens when liberal arts types speculate about software. The marshmallow man is pretty funny; that and the ending put me in mind of Fight Club, but without the Pixies, which brings me back to the fishbowls and their lack.

Manohla Dargis got right into it for the New York Times, as did Dana Stevens. Anthony Lane observes that Phoenix's shirts and moustache are ill-advised. There are a few postings on the New Yorker blog: Christine Smallwood finds the final twist ("humans who have given all their attention to their devices find that they can't hold their devices' attention in return.") good; I infer she is not a software person or big on empathy. Richard Brody summarises: "with its dewy tone and gentle manners, [it] plays like a feature-length kitten video [...]".

I talked to Sean about it on Wednesday. He observed that the protaganist is atypical: a sensitive bloke who's not a complete tool. Phoenix's date with Olivia Wilde got his goat, and mine too. I think he got more into this flick than I did.