Back when I first experienced young love, the main mode of communication was the telephone, which allowed for discussions unhindered by the goofy look on my face or my view that boxers were all a person needed to wear while at home. Many of those conversations were quite magical and introspective, and I’m transported right back to those slightly more innocent times when watching the new trailer for Spike Jonze’s futuristic romance Her.
In the film, Joaquin Phoenix plays a heartbroken man who enters into a relationship with the bodyless voice of a new computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) that isn’t just artificially intelligent, but is also interesting and seemingly capable of emotions. Now I’m not trying to say all of the girls I talked to in my teens were comparable to mindless robots, but the trailer evokes the same feeling of "anything can happen here and now." I’d rather not disgust you guys by saying what I would have done if Johansson would have been on the other end of the phone. Yowzah!
While this new Her trailer doesn't work quite as well as the first one – and I think part of that is the inclusion of blurbs against the rose red background – it still makes me feel all warm and gooey inside and makes me hopeful that the film may come close to taking down Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as my favorite modern romance (I’m pretty sure all love stories need some basis in science or sci-fi in order to impress me).
I don’t envy Phoenix’s Theodore for going through a painful divorce from Rooney Mara’s Catherine, and I’m not jealous that his social awkwardness limits his comfort speaking to living and breathing females, but there’s something special about getting to know someone for the first time and showing them what your take on life is all about. I’d have to assume that doing this with a disembodied voice who can’t experience life would be both exhilarating and depressing all at the same time, especially when one longs for another’s touch.
With a supporting cast that also includes Amy Adams as an understanding neighbor and Chris Pratt as an equally understanding co-worker, Her will hopefully unlock a new mindset when it comes to romantic comedies and dramas that doesn’t rely so heavily on meet-cutes between generic characters. And if there’s anyone who can do this in the most extraordinary way possible, Jonze is that person.
Many came away from the film’s premiere at the New York Film Festival with positive reviews, and that has made its release date seem even further away. Fortunately, we’ll all be able to join in Theodore’s love life when Her gets a wide release on January 10, 2014 following a limited theatrical run on starting on December 18th. While you’re waiting, check out the first trailer below and feel free to talk to it, even if it doesn’t respond.