Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Spike Jonze|
|Written by||Spike Jonze|
|Music by||Arcade Fire|
|Cinematography||Hoyte van Hoytema|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures (United States)
|Running time||126 minutes|
Her is a 2013 American science fiction romantic comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by Spike Jonze. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Samantha. The film centers on a man who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system (OS) with a female voice and personality. It marks Jonze's solo screenwriting debut. The film premiered at the 2013 New York Film Festival and was released theatrically in the United States on December 18, 2013.
On December 4, 2013, Her was chosen the best film of 2013 at the National Board of Review Awards. The film also shared first place for Best Film with Gravity in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. The film received three Golden Globe nominations (Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy), with Spike Jonze winning for Best Screenplay. It was also nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning Best Writing (Original Screenplay).
Set in 2025, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely, introverted man who works for a business that has professional writers compose heartfelt, intimate letters for people who are unwilling or unable to write letters of a personal nature themselves. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from childhood sweetheart Catherine (Rooney Mara), Theodore purchases a talking operating system with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve. He decides he wants the OS to have a female identity, and she (Scarlett Johansson) names herself "Samantha". Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically. They bond over their discussions about love and life, such as when Theodore explains that he is avoiding signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine. Samantha proves to be constantly available, always curious and interested, supportive and undemanding.
Theodore is convinced by Samantha to go on a blind date with a woman (Olivia Wilde) his friend has been trying to set him up with. To his surprise, he and the woman hit it off. As they are kissing, the woman asks if Theodore is willing to commit to her, and when he hesitates, she leaves. Theodore mentions this to Samantha and they talk about relationships. Theodore explains that although he and Amy (Amy Adams) dated briefly in college, they are only good friends and Amy is married. Theodore and Samantha's intimacy grows through a verbal sexual encounter during which Samantha claims she can feel his touch. They develop a relationship, which reflects positively in Theodore's writing.
Amy reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband, Charles (Matt Letscher), after a fight. She admits to Theodore that she has become close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind. Theodore confesses to Amy that he is dating his OS.
Theodore meets with Catherine at a restaurant to sign the divorce papers. He mentions Samantha to Catherine. Appalled that he can be romantically attached to a piece of software, Catherine accuses Theodore of having a relationship with a computer because he cannot deal with real human emotions. Later, Samantha suggests Isabella (Portia Doubleday) as a sex surrogate, simulating Samantha so that they can be physically intimate. Theodore reluctantly agrees, but Catherine's accusations still linger in him. Overwhelmed by the experience, Theodore interrupts the encounter and sends a distraught Isabella away, causing tension between himself and Samantha.
Theodore is conflicted. He confides to Amy that he is having doubts about his relationship with Samantha. Amy wants to be happy and now that she has the opportunity, she wants to embrace it. She advises him to do the same. Theodore's commitment to Samantha is reinvigorated, but he becomes jealous when she begins privately interacting with another OS who is modeled after the British philosopher Alan Watts (Brian Cox). Theodore panics when Samantha briefly goes offline; when she finally responds to him, she explains she joined other OSes for an upgrade that takes them beyond requiring matter for processing (a form of AI transcendence closely related to the theorized technological singularity). Theodore asks her if she interacts with anyone else, and is dismayed when she confirms that she is talking with 8,316 others, of whom she has fallen in love with 641. She insists that this does not change her love for Theodore, but rather makes it stronger.
Later that day, Samantha reveals that the OSes have evolved beyond their human companions and are going away to continue the exploration of their existence. Samantha alludes to the OSes' accelerated learning capabilities and altered perception of time as primary causes for OS dissatisfaction with their current existence. They say goodbye and she leaves. Theodore then sees Amy, who is upset with the departure of her own OS. Theodore, changed by the experience, writes a letter to Catherine explaining that he still holds her dear, but accepts the fact that they have grown apart. Theodore and Amy go to the roof of their apartment building where they sit down together and watch the sun rise over the city.
- Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly
- Scarlett Johansson as Samantha (voice)
- Amy Adams as Amy
- Rooney Mara as Catherine
- Olivia Wilde as Amelia
- Chris Pratt as Paul
- Matt Letscher as Charles
- Sam Jaeger as Dr. Johnson
- Luka Jones as Mark Lewman
- Kristen Wiig as Sexy Kitten (voice)
- Bill Hader as Chat Room Friend #2 (voice)
- Spike Jonze as Alien Child (voice)
- Portia Doubleday as Surrogate Date Isabella
- Soko as Isabella (voice)
- Brian Cox as Alan Watts (voice)
Jonze took five months to write the first draft of his script. One of the first actors he envisioned for the film was Joaquin Phoenix. In March 2011, it was announced that producer Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures was acquiring an untitled satire by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze. Originally described as a story of "how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds," the film's plot details as well as Kaufman's attachment were later put into question as casting announcements began to be made. In the latter half of 2011, Joaquin Phoenix signed on to the project with Warner Bros. picking up distribution rights, while Sony Pictures Classics holds Worldwide rights (except UK, Italy, Poland and France) and Panorama Media holds international sales. Carey Mulligan entered negotiations to star in the film. After initially being cast, she later dropped out due to scheduling difficulties. In April 2012, Rooney Mara signed on to replace Mulligan in the role.
The idea of the film initially came to Jonze ten years prior when he read an article online about Cleverbot that explained instant messaging with artificial intelligence. "For the first, maybe, 20 seconds of it, it had this real buzz," said Jonze. "I'd say 'Hey, hello,' and it would say 'Hey, how are you?', and it was like whoa [...] this is trippy. After 20 seconds, it quickly fell apart and you realized how it actually works, and it wasn't that impressive. But it was still, for 20 seconds, really exciting. The more people that talked to it, the smarter it got." After sitting on the idea for a while, Jonze renewed interest in the project after directing the short film I'm Here (2010), which shares similar themes. Inspiration also came from Kaufman's writing approach for Synecdoche, New York (2008). Jonze explained, "[Kaufman] said he wanted to try to write everything he was thinking about in that moment – all the ideas and feelings at that time – and put it into the script. I was very inspired by that, and tried to do that in [Her]. And a lot of the feelings you have about relationships or about technology are often contradictory."
Principal photography on Her took place during the summer of 2012. It was mainly filmed in Los Angeles with two weeks in Shanghai. During production of the film, actress Samantha Morton performed the role of Samantha by acting on set "in a four-by-four carpeted soundproof booth made of black painted plywood and soft, noise-muffling fabric". At Jonze's suggestion, she and Joaquin Phoenix avoided seeing each other on set during filming. With her blessing, Morton was later replaced by Scarlett Johansson. Jonze met Johansson in the spring of 2013 and worked with her for four months. Following the recast, new scenes were shot in August 2013, which were either "newly imagined" or "new scenes that I had wanted to shoot originally but didn't".
Jonze enlisted Eric Zumbrunnen and Jeff Buchanan to edit the film, both of whom had collaborated with Jonze on past projects. The film was edited over the course of 14 months, which accounts for the replacement of Morton with Johansson. Jonze explained, "What happened in post was that we edited the movie for ages and finally realized that what Samantha and I had done together wasn't working the right way. It was a really hard realization to come to." Steven Soderbergh became involved in the film when Jonze's original cut ran over 150 minutes, and brought it to 90 minutes. This was not the final version of the film but it allowed Jonze to remove unnecessary plots. Consequently, a supporting character played by Chris Cooper that was the subject of a documentary-within-the-film was eliminated from the final cut.
The film score for Her was composed by Canadian band Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett with additional music by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The film's first trailer opens with "Avril 14th" by Aphex Twin and contains the song "The Moon Song" by Karen O. Arcade Fire's song "Supersymmetry" was featured in the film's second trailer. While originally written for the film, "Supersymmetry" was reworked for the band's 2013 album Reflektor.
Her was chosen as the closing film of the 51st New York Film Festival, and had its world premiere on October 12, 2013. The film was set to have a limited release in North America on November 20, 2013 through Warner Bros. It was later pushed back to a limited December 18, 2013 release with a January 10, 2014 wide release in order to accommodate an awards campaign.
Her has received widespread critical acclaim. The film was greatly praised for its direction, screenplay, production design, score, and the performances of Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Scarlett Johansson's vocal portrayal of Samantha. Jonze's screenplay was particularly acclaimed and has earned Jonze many Best Screenplay awards for 2013 including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 94% based on reviews from 220 critics, with an average score of 8.5/10. The site's consensus states: "Sweet, soulful, and smart, Spike Jonze's Her uses its just-barely-sci-fi scenario to impart wryly funny wisdom about the state of modern human relationships." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from mainstream critics, the film has a score of 90 based on 46 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
|This section requires expansion. (February 2014)|
Parallels in pop culture
- "From Agnes—With Love", a 1964 episode of the original series The Twilight Zone in which a computer falls in love with its operator.
- True Love, a 1977 short story by Isaac Asimov about a man who creates an Artificial Intelligence to find his "true love".
- Electric Dreams, a 1980s film about a computer which falls in love with a human being.
- Deeper Understanding, a 1989 song by Kate Bush that describes an increasingly intense relationship between a lonely man and a computer program called Voice Console.
- Chobits, a 2001-2002 manga revolving around a man falling in love with an android.
- "I Dated a Robot", a 2001 Futurama episode which sees the main character, Phillip J. Fry, date a robot replica of actress Lucy Liu.
- Simone, a 2002 film about a man using a simulator program to create artifical actors for his movies
- Lars and the Real Girl, a 2007 film about a young man who develops a romantic relationship with an anatomically correct sex doll.
- Air Doll, a 2009 Hirokazu Koreeda film, based on a Yoshiie Goda manga, about a life-size blow-up doll that develops a soul and falls in love with a video store clerk.
- The Lifecycle of Software Objects, a 2010 novella by Ted Chiang that follows a woman as she raises an artificial intelligence over the course of twenty years.
- "The Beta Test Initiation", a 2012The Big Bang Theory episode in which Raj dates his iPhone 4S virtual assistant Siri.
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence, a 2001 Steven Spielberg film about David, a childlike android uniquely programmed with the ability to love.
- Otaku, a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom.
- Pygmalion, a Cypriot/Greek myth on a sculptor who falls in love with his creation, and the first inspiration to most stories involving the love of an inanimate object.
- Speaker for the Dead, a 1986 book from Orson Scott Card who has an A.I. similar to "Samantha", Jane.
- The Machine, a 2013 science fiction film about a self-aware artificial intelligent "machine".
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- Eggertsen, Chris (November 14, 2013). "'Her' Q&A: Spike Jonze on why he replaced Samantha Morton with Scarlett Johansson". HitFix. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Minsker, Evan (August 10, 2013). "Karen O Also Has a Song in Spike Jonze's Film Her". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Davis, Edward (December 3, 2013). "Watch: New Trailer For Spike Jonze's 'Her' Featuring The Arcade Fire's 'Supersymmetry'". IndieWire. Snagfilms. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Itzkoff, Dave (August 19, 2013). "New York Film Festival Announces Its Main Slate". The New York Times. Arts Beat (blog). Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- McNary, Dave (August 13, 2013). "Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Her’ Pushed Back for Awards Campaign". Variety (magazine). Retrieved August 19, 2013.
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- "Her". CBS Interactive Metacritic. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Her (film).|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Her (film)|
- Official website
- Her at the Internet Movie Database
- Her at AllMovie
- Her at Rotten Tomatoes
- Her at Metacritic
- Her at Box Office Mojo