her-movie-joaquin-phoenix

  • The visuals are so meticulously crafted, they made a sub-conscious impression and stayed with me long after the movie was over – specifically two motifs: 1) that shade of orange that is in almost every frame (Theodore’s shirts, the lamp shades, a distant flicker of light, a pillow cover, a window pane, a purse, a painting),2)  all the extras in public places in futuristic Los Angeles carry a bag – a shopping bag, a backpack, a purse, a messenger bag, a briefcase, etc.. I kept thinking what these two visuals signified in the overall scheme of the movie.
  • For a movie where one of the central characters is virtual and which shows that our futuristic selves as surrounded by many other virtual entities (if they aren’t already in today’s world), it brought out the “physical” world quite beautifully. The scenes where Theodore touches or feels objects, places, etc. gave me minor but very real pleasures: when he walks in the snow, when he sees smoke come out of a sewer, etc. His scenes with his interactions with the virtual world were funny and sad (like the one with the video game where he has to find a way out of a planet) but his interactions with the physical world were much more satisfying to me personally – when he is knee deep in the snow, when he lays on the sidewalk or the beach, etc.
  • I loved how the movie tries to show the human race as a people who want to hold on to the old ways of things, romanticize them, but have others do the old ways of doing things for us: the main character works at a place which writes hand written letters for others, Amy’s apartment has a giant old-world phone as a home decor item in a corner, etc. This fits perfectly with the central themes of the movie of alienation and desperation to grab on to the familial.
  • Joaquin Phoenix is practically in every frame of the movie. I could not help but relate his Theodore with Sandra Bullock’s astronaut, Ryan Stone, from Gravity. Both the characters are portraying very similar emotions – loss, alienation, isolation, hope, and optimism (of course in my opinion). To have both the movies come out in the same year with very similar central characters could be coincidental, but could also be a testament to “art imitates life”. Back to Joaquin, he gives a very restrained, nuanced, and empathetic performance.
  • All the major characters in the movie seem to be earning their livelihoods from businesses which create nothing tangible – Theodore writes letters for other people, Amy designs games (like farmville), etc. Both these characters are incredibly lonely, incredibly distant, like they don’t have any tangible things to hold on to – they don’t “produce” anything, just like their jobs.
  • All the  montage shots with Theodore and his wife can be called as quite rom-comish, but were mighty effective in letting me feel his pain and his hesitation to let go of his marriage. The scene where they wear traffic cones on their heads has stuck in my head (and yes these cones are….you guessed it: “Orange” in color).
  • I am still processing a lot of this movie (which is a good thing, it means, that the movie challenged me, it means that the movie moved me) and I am certain I will revisit it sometime soon. There was something about the whole premise that made me think of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, which is one of my favorite movies of all times.