Review: ‘Her’ (MA) ****

Joaquin PhoenixSPIKE Jonze’s fourth feature tells of a man who uses voice-recognition software to compose and print letters between relationship partners able to afford his services.

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) may have the talent for such a profession but his own marriage is in impending dissolution. He signs up for the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system which provides an avatar available 24/7 to dispel his loneliness. We never see Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) but the emotional comfort and challenge that her voice provides are profoundly intelligent.

Inevitably, Theodore falls in love with Samantha. This is the film’s core dramatic issue which Jonze’s screenplay deftly directs toward a denouement that we may see coming but not how it pans out.

Phoenix’s performance is admirable. As the human colleague with whom he has a strong platonic friendship, Amy Adams has a relatively small role.

At 130 minutes, “Her” takes a tad more time than it needs. The development of its drama and the exposition of its technology satisfy any reasonable standard of credibility notwithstanding that the film as a whole is a fantasy. It has Academy Award nominations for Best Film and Best Screenplay.

At Capitol 6 and Palace Electric

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