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© Warner Bros. Pictures Germany

Her

Take our technology-pervasive society and multiply it 1000 times: not quite Soylent Green (1973) or Blade Runner (1982), but... Now imagine meeting someone who is ideally suited to you: funny, smart, sensitive, a confidant and friend. Your relationship develops: walks, shopping, family get-togethers, double dates, and playing computer games. Sound nice? Next envisage this perfect partner is the size of a cell phone with a voice. Welcome to the future.

Spike Jonze directs (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and writes this sophisticated scenario about an intensely lonely man struggling through a devastating divorce who writes heartfelt letters for others – his boss (Chris Pratt) marvels at his sensitivity – yet is bereft of close ties. Purchasing a new OSI: "It's not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness”, his relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson, voice) begins. Significantly, Joaquin Phoenix finely balances Theodore’s complicated personality: amiable, insightful, insecure and aloof, with strong performances from fellow thespians. Theodore’s daily landscape (K.K. Barrett, production design) appears as appetizing as a skip through a hellhole. Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography and Jeff Buchanan and Eric Zumbrunnen’s editing – plus computer magic – seamlessly match Los Angeles, California and Shanghai, China’s skylines. Jonze’s imaginative forecast is frighteningly astute, sustaining feelings of a disengaged, alien social order. Artificial intelligence’s transcendence is uncontrollable and equally capable of dishing out heartache. Not a traipse through paradise, melancholic Her is worth experiencing. (Marinell Haegelin)

Second Opinion

Soon we will be looking back to the good old times where a simple “cogito ergo sum” was all we needed to set ourselves apart as humans. In Her, this line gets blurred by the fact that an operating system (as in a computer software) is able to think, feel and evolve through its own experience. It literally turns into the “person” you need. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely guy who is in the final stages of a divorce. Being lost without his wife, he jumps at the opportunity to have the perfect personal assistant. Samantha (Scarlett Johansson’s voice), as it has named itself, is funny, intelligent, and makes him feel alive again until the inevitable thing happens: Theodore and Samantha fall in love.

Her does not just offer beautiful pictures and a great cast. It is also the smartest film I have seen recently, since it works on so many levels. Samantha is basically the logical culmination of all imaginable internet-services. While Facebook & Co. still cater to substitute desires like consumerism, this program goes right to the heart of the matter. It has the insight of an über-counselor (it only needs to know about your relationship to your parents first…) and then makes you feel loved unconditionally. In order to do so, the program has basically come to a state of enlightenment, a state of pure consciousness. No nasty egos. No mommy issues, since “the past is just a story we tell ourselves.” Definitely a superior state by definition of many spiritual paths. But how human can perfect be?

I love the way this film plays with the modern desire of spiritual perfection versus “neediness” and also combines it with a slight science-fiction element in the form of sentient machines (without the Matrix-style doom, I am pleased to say). It also combines melancholia and loneliness with hope that can be found in our core if we let ourselves be truly human. (Katia Trost)

 

12 Years a Slave (2013)

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

42 (2013)

A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Auge um Auge (Out of the Furnace) (2013)

Austenland (2013)

Blackfish (2013)

Boyhood (2014)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Citizenfour (2014)

Das Große Heft (The Notebook, A nagy füzet) (2013)

Das ist das Ende (This Is the End) (2013)

Das Kleine Gespenst (The Little Ghost) (2013)

Das Magische Haus (The House of Magic) (2013)

Der Große Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) (2013)

Der Medicus (The Physician) (2013)

Die Boxtrolls (The Boxtrolls) (2014)

Die Eiskönigin - Völlig unverfroren (Frozen) (2013)

Don Jon (2013)

Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

Get on Up (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Hai-Alarm am Müggelsee (2013)

Her (2013)

Im Namen des ... (In the Name Of, W imie...) (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Jack (2014)

Jersey Boys (2014)

Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross) (2014)

Last Vegas (2013)

Liberace - Zu viel des Guten ist wundervoll (Behind the Candelabra) (2013)

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Nebraska (2013)

Nightcrawler - Jede Nacht hat ihren Preis (Nightcrawler) (2014)

Nowitzki, der Perfekte Wurf (2014)

Ohne Dich (2014)

One Chance - Einmal im Leben (One Chance) (2013)

Paddington (2014)

Phoenix (2014)

R.E.D. 2 (2013)

Rush - Alles für den Sieg (Rush) (2013)

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

The Blue Umbrella (2013)

The Butterfly’s Dream (The Dream of a Butterfly, Kelebegin Rüyasi) (2013)

The Unknown Known (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Trance - Gefährliche Erinnerung (Trance) (2013)

Venus im Pelz (Venus in Fur, La Vénus à la fourrure) (2013)

Wacken 3D - Louder than Hell (2014)

Wolfskinder (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Der Große Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) (2013)

Die Entdeckung der Unendlichkeit (The Theory of Everything) (2014)

Die Wolken von Sils Maria (Clouds of Sils Maria) (2014)

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Jimmy’s Hall (2014)

Like Father, Like Son (Soshite chichi ni naru) (2014)

No Turning Back (Locke) (2013)

Prisoners (2013)

Side Effects (2013)

Snowpiercer (2013)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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