Director Spike Jonze gives us a beautiful yet odd love story about a man smitten with his computer’s operating system (voiced by a lovely Scarlett Johansson).
Johansson does mesmerizing voice work as Samantha, a Siri-like voice operating system that is so charming, her new owner (Joaquin Phoenix) finds her far more interesting than actual humans. She makes you believe a man could fall in love with his computer. That’s a sad reality, perhaps, and Jonze (who won a screenwriting Oscar here) does a good job of dealing with the awkward circumstance.
Jonze has made a movie that looks and feels realistic, creating a future land in which it’s perfectly OK to date your computer. He approaches the topic seriously—and somehow manages to make it all work. While the premise sounds nutty, the approach is purely dramatic. There are few directors who could make a film like this come together.
The movie not only looks spectacular, as Jonze’s films often do; it also sounds great, thanks to a soundtrack from Arcade Fire. Meanwhile, Phoenix turns in some of the finest acting of his career. His nerdy character is somebody to root for, even though he’s basically pleasuring himself with Samantha for a good chunk of the film. Chris Pratt, soon to be a megastar with Guardians of the Galaxy, gives a good supporting performance as one of Phoenix’s co-workers.
Johansson deserved an Oscar nomination for her voice work. She created a fleshed-out character without ever being seen in the flesh—and that’s no easy feat.
Special Features: There’s a short making-of film and some interviews about modern relationships.