MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson (voice only), Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde. Romance/drama. Written & directed by Spike Jonze.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A lonely man falls in love with his newly purchased electronic operating system that's designed to meet his need for companionship. The machine has a female voice (Scarlett Johansson).

PREVIEW REVIEW: Admittedly, our gizmos are somewhat transfixing. Look what we can do! I recently read that soon computers will be built into eyeglasses. Do we really need computers in our eyeglasses? Of course not, but we can do it! With this reliance on cybernetic gizmos, we are becoming more detached from those around us. Our world is now compressed into a palm-sized device that allows us to communicate with whom we choose. We can bank on it. Shop on it. Read film reviews on it! And everyone of importance to us has his or her own address and phone chipped into this magical, miniature machine. All we have to do is look down. Never looking up, we miss that real live person who just walked past us in the store or as we walked to our keyless cars. He has gone unnoticed, unacknowledged, unwanted. He’s not in our little handheld world. He’s not important. But then, he’s most likely not looking up either, his eyes transfixed on his portable life-controller.

Sadly, this dysfunctional behavior is just the beginning of man’s de-evolving. Her shows us as having become so desensitized that our electronic toys have replaced the need for our fellow man or woman. We’re becoming pod people so disheartened with real relationships that we’re willing to couple up with a laptop. Sadly, for those willing to make that PC leap, it’s only a temporary fix. For even love with a spicy-voiced machine has its drawbacks. Ultimately, this computer connection simply makes us more machine-like.

The performances are pitch-perfect (can Ms. Johansson get an Oscar nomination for voice work only?). And director Spike Jonze uses an incisive camera to relate his thematic vision and to warn of this dispirited future we can still evade. With its seductive, yet disquieting premise, Her may be the best cautionary tale you’ll see in quite some time. But it is also one peppered with obscenity, promiscuity, and an overall feel of melancholy. I wouldn’t watch it again, though I must admit, I wouldn’t mind if my computer suddenly spoke to me with the lulling tones of Miss Scarlett. Uh-oh, does that mean I’m becoming a pod person?

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Countless obscenities, mostly the f-word, used by everyone, including the computer and a character in a computer game; no mention of God or Christ, our Creator unmentioned as if He had been invented and we had moved on past a need for Him.

Profanity: I caught no misuse of God’s name.

Violence: None

Sex: Several sexual situations and discussions.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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