Review: The magical, lonely love of 'Her'
FILE - This file image provided by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from "Her." In “Her,” Spike Jonze’s futuristic exploration of a man’s relationship with his computer, the filmmaker surveys human disjunction. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — How essential are physical and emotional connections when falling in love? What would you miss — looking into someone's eyes, caressing them, tasting them? In "Her," Spike Jonze's futuristic exploration of a man's relationship with his computer, the filmmaker surveys human disjunction.
Joaquin Phoenix is Theodore, a loner struggling to cope with his unwanted divorce from neuroscientist Catherine (a comely, sullen Rooney Mara). Theodore has become guarded, but his work requires an outpouring of emotions as he pens tender, personal letters for others at beautifulhandwrittenletters.com.
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix, left, and Mara Rooney in a scene from "Her." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)
After seeing an ad for an artificial intelligence operating system, Theodore purchases one and finds his new OS is voiced by a dame with a sultry, whiskey-stained tone named Samantha (a witty and relaxed Scarlett Johansson, who is never seen on-camera). Samantha is at Theodore's beck and call. Communicating by way of an earpiece and a small hand-held device, she keeps him on schedule and encourages him to get back out there and go on a blind date. His date (Olivia Wilde) critiques his kissing ability and scolds him for refusing to indulge in the idea of a relationship. "I'm not in a place where I can commit right now" becomes one of Theodore's signature lines, even as he becomes smitten with Samantha.