I Hate To Insult ‘Her’ But She Is A Bore

Joaquin Phoenix attempting to be whimsical in Her

Joaquin Phoenix attempting to be whimsical in Her

Jonathan Gonzalez, Impact Staff

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

Over the course of a month Spike Jonze’s film, Her has garnered critical acclaim from all corners of the movie community. The Academy itself has nominated Her for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and critics have praised it calling Her witty and funny, sweet and soulful.

This critic has three words that can describe this film: A complete bore.

It seems every year there has to be that one film that is given more credit than it deserves and this year, it seems Her is the one that everyone just loves. Everyone but me that is.

The story for Her is one that could have worked. The idea of a man falling in love with his Operating System is one that’s outrageous, but intriguing enough to earn anyone’s curiosity. The story follows Theodore Twombly, an anti-social man who has gone through a recent divorce. After getting a new OS that can interact with him, he finds that he’s falling in love with her (named Samantha) and the film follows their difficult relationship. What hurts me most about this film is the abundance of creativity. The relationship between Theodore and Samantha actually feels real, going into depth about topics such as sex, cheating and the troubles they face from society’s views. The film uses many ingenious ideas such as a scene where Samantha reveals that she and other OS’s had taken the works of a philosopher who has been dead for some time and essentially gave him new life as an OS.

The world of Her has so many well thought out details to it, things like technology, advertisements, clothing, the internet, it all has a feeling of a realistic future that doesn’t seem too far off. There’s even some really good humor at the start, with the film opening on a scene of Theodore having phone sex with a woman with disturbing peccadillos, a scene that had me laughing strongly. Sadly, it all comes crashing down very quickly as tedium and boredom set in quickly with this film. The humor soon stopped being funny and started being repetitive, and all the great ideas the film had couldn’t keep me entertained. There are scenes that feel out of place and don’t go anywhere. For instance, the sole ten minutes that Olivia Wilde was in had no purpose and was so strange and out of place that it felt surreal when compared to the rest of the film.

I had no emotional attachments of any kind to the story or to the characters, their tribulations in this love affair had no impact on me and as the film dragged on, and believe me it feels longer then it’s two hour running time. I found that the only source of entertainment I could find was the fact that star Joaquin Phoenix looked like actor Kim Coates in this film.

Characters for Her are largely forgettable.

The strongest characters in Her are of course Theodore and Samantha. For the most part Theodore is a dull character. There’s nothing really bad about him but overall there’s nothing interesting about him either. He does come off as a sympathetic character and one that I could relate to, but my mind wandered too often to pay any real attention. However, he does become more of a memorable character when he’s interacting with Samantha. The relationship between the two does feel very real and I did find myself actually caring every now and again. And I would be lying if I didn’t point out that the bittersweet ending between the two is both touching and very well made.

The remaining cast of characters are very weak and forgettable. They’re all so disinteresting, they all come off as Wes Anderson characters, but with the charm and likeability sucked dry from them.

Likewise, the acting is also rather forgettable.

Joaquin Phoenix is like his character. He should be likeable, relatable, and sympathetic, but I constantly found my interest fading quickly with every second that past.

Scarlett Johansson does a good job as Samantha. Like their characters, Johansson helps Phoenix be more memorable with the two working very well together.

Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde each only have one scene and God bless them both because they try so hard. Sadly, Wilde’s scene was just too surreal for me to care about her acting and Mara, though memorable and actually trying in her scene, was just too short and comes off as wasted.

Surprisingly, the best person in this whole film was the one who had the littlest to do: Brian Cox. Cox appears only briefly as an OS, having only a few scant lines of dialogue. However, I found myself engaged with his performance the most. Perhaps it was because I didn’t expect to see (or in this case hear) him in this movie and my surprise is why I enjoyed his short performance so much.

Final Thoughts: I don’t know, maybe I just don’t get it. I think back to this film and realize there were some good moments and mountains of great ideas, but I couldn’t help but be bored by the film. I wasn’t attached to the story or characters and the pacing is so slow and monotonous that by comparison, it seemed longer than even The Wolf of Wall Street. I don’t know, maybe it warrants another viewing and maybe you, dear reader, may understand it far better than I did. Overall, though I was greatly bored by Her and it causes me great discomfort that it gets the honor of being compared to Wolf and 12 Years a Slave.

Verdict: Low Rental