Joaquin Phoenix really, really likes his new computer in this first trailer for HER

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I’ve been a netizen for a long time now. I’ve seen some stuff, man. So when Apple first unveiled Siri, I thought it was only a matter of time before I read a headline about somebody (probably a lonely Japanese man) falling in love with their phone.

Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are) must have had a similar idea. And so he turned it into a movie. Swap out the Japanese loner for Jaoquin Phoenix and Siri for a Scarlett Johansson-voiced computer OS, and you have Her, a film that looks remarkably more charming – and less awkward – than you would expect.

Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, “Her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. From the unique perspective of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze comes an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.

Well, now. That got less less weird as it went along, to the point where when it looks like Phoenix and Johansson were about to start sexting like nobody ever has, it almost felt normal.

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Jonze has a knack for getting you emotionally invested in these off-kilter, kind of kooky stories that in lesser talented hands would just seem too out-there. This may just be his most out-there story yet – and that’s coming from a filmography that includes a film where John Cusack finds a portal into John Malkovich’s mind behind a filing cabinet in his office on Floor 7½ – but the cast really seem to be selling this, and with Jonze’s skill I have a feeling that he may just get people crying over a computer for a reason other than it just crashed while you were busy with that critical report that’s due in 5 minutes.

her will be logging into a limited run in theaters on November 20, 2013.

Last Updated: August 12, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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