Before, we've seen Spike Jonze's creatively disturbing and off-beat work with Being John Malkovich as well as some heart-breaking evanescence with his Where the Wild Things Are. Her is Spike Jonze's first time directing his own writing, and I hope to see more of it in the future. The writing is clever -- witty, profoundly tragic, and transparent even as it deals with heady issues. Joaquin Phoenix plays the protagonist Theodore Twombly in the not-too-distant future LA. A sensitive soul who is still processing a recent break-up, he decides to buy the latest program -- an Operating System (OS) that functions on Artificial Intelligence and grows and reacts to whoever its owner is. He develops a relationship with his OS (voiced by the never more attractive than here Scarlett Johansson) before long, perhaps inevitably and definitely irreparably.
This movie could easily run into horror territory or even a forewarning of society's increasing dependency on technology. But Jonze doesn't go for cheap thrills or easy outs. First and last, this is a love story. It's a story about how relationships limit us and free us -- and how they change us, sometimes beyond the boundaries of what that relationship can hold. It's a look at what's happening in a world where self-sufficiency is easier and what we do to seek intimacy in these situations. It's a conversation about what it means to feel, and how we gain or lose that.
There's real beauty in this movie. Even if people in the future pay companies to write personal letters or apparently don't need belts anymore, there's still truth in how a person looks at the one he loves.
As mentioned before, Johansson's voice winds the thread of this movie. It's impossible not to fall in love with her. This movie has an incredible cast. Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Mara Rooney, and Olivia Wilde's brief scene are all brilliantly wrought.
At times you can feel the movie's length, but several moments I caught myself wishing the movie could stretch on indefinitely and simultaneously wondering how it could possibly end. Jonze's balancing act continues past anything you might guess and you'll have to see for yourself how it's played out.