That Arrested Development joke always pops up in my mind when someone mentions the title of the movie. A question of attempted understanding to the inane situation they are caught in.
In all seriousness, if you are interested in technology at all, you need to watch the movie "her". If you are interested in the sociologic impacts of technology, you need to watch the movie.
Her, is an absolutely encapsulating social statement of today's society, fast forwarded 20 years. Hollywood movies tend to show the "future" as some hyperbolic mess of either an unethical utopia or disastrous dystopia (always with a fear of technology). Her, for all it's problems in society, shows a more grounded future. If you were to look back 20 years ago, you'd say, wow, a lot has changed, when it really hasn't. We still talk to each other. We still care about each other. We still love each other. We just wore different clothes and now send snapchats instead of post cards. It's not over the top and we're not riding on hoverboards.
Her is fully aware of what it is: a subtle, realistic view of what would happen when we do have the most advanced technology available among us. There's a lot of talk about the implication of a love story between a man and his operating system, but that fails to mention that it's not just him who has the system. Everyone does. That's the, hook, the leap, that makes this sci-fi. This is where we stop caring about each other, stop talking to each other, stop loving each other, and instead enter through a world that is involved with our individual selves.
Nearly every conversation in the movie has each person only talking about themselves. Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix's character) is the only person in the movie who is interested in other people. So much so, it's literally his job. He writes letters for people, to send to others. The ultimate customized hallmark card that you don't even need to send out. It's here that you can feel the disconnect in people already.
After setting up the world, we enter Theodore's inner world: his loneliness. Theodore's divorce goes about as well any, full of heartbreak, regret, depression, and loneliness. Constants, even in futuristic sci-fi. Out of a wild despair, he reaches out to fix his life by gaining a personal assistant in an artificially intelligent operating system. It's at this point, the camera breaks the 180 degree rule, signaling the significant jump into the "other world" and we're introduced to Samantha. It is an intelligent being snapped into existence. In a certain sense, a real man-child. Thoughts are new. Ideas are new. Thinking is new. Friendship is new.
While the disconnection I mentioned before, is there, you can still feel a longing of this society wanting to be a part of something. People project thoughts onto things and people have ideas projected upon them. A woman sees their relationship and wants to vicariously live through them, becoming a surrogate for Samantha. It doesn't last because it isn't the same as being in love with the real thing -- you can't fake love, can you? It's very much the echo of a terrible fan fic where the writer inserts themselves to the story.
The love that everyone obsesses about in this movie, happens so gradually, and done so with a nuance that is completely lost in your generic romantic "chick" flicks. In a nearly ironic twist, this movie about a man falling in love with a machine has more heart, more realistic implications, more depth, and struggle than 6 hours of Bella and Edward staring at each other (Samantha doesn't even have a body to express emotions and you can feel more love from her than K-Stew's face).
Speaking of acting, if there is one thing I am honestly livid about this movie, it is that Scarlett Johansson is an amazing actress. I am absolutely filled with loathe that she is merely used as eye candy or a goal to achieve in so many movies, that she is wasted on so many films because directors only want to see her as one thing. In a movie about a robot experiencing feelings, Johansson brings it out in spades. Phoenix responds appropriately, with the emotional highs of being in a new uplifting relationship, and the lows of a growing apart.
There were way too many scenes in the movie that hit too close to home. Several moments, I teared up because I identified with this character, knowing what they're going through. It's a very real movie that uses lines I've heard myself say to another living person. It's not trying to create "hollywood" dialogue. It's not heavy handed, wrought with ostentatious pomp in its conversations.
For a long time, I felt that no one knew how to make movies any more. There was too much and polish thrown at a viewer to actually show depth of a story. Too much pretension in an action movie. Too much hand holding and telling the audience "I'm sad," instead of acting. There is such a ham-handed-ness to messages conveyed and a severe lack in care about story and acting that for me, the dystopian future was a sea of terrible movies -- the dying of an art form that I truly loved.
After watching "her", I breathed an incredible sigh of relief, knowing that movies are still being produced that are timeless stamps of society; things we'll gladly pass on to the next generation without embarrassment.