What it’s up for: Best Picture, Music (score), Music (song), Production Design, Original Screenplay
Why oh why is this year so WEIRD. This movie is so weird. It has its artistic merits, for sure, but I just couldn’t get on board with the plot.
Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, falls in love with his operating system. That’s the part that is hard to take seriously throughout this very serious dramatic film. The character development for the different human characters is fantastic. The general storyline is very strong with a good ending. But it’s hard not to giggle at certain “serious” moments when the OS (named “Samantha”) falls into relationship stereotypes with Theodore.
The overwhelming winner in this movie is the production design. The correlation between costuming, set design, and scene locations is fantastic. The movie is set in a not-so-distant future and it totally feels real. They combined footage from Shanghai and LA, along with some CGI, to make a future version of LA that seems like it could be real any day now. The number of extras – all given special attention with costuming – make the reality of the environment really sink in. Each set design is gorgeous and artistic with the touch of functionality that makes you believe that this could be your office or home. It’s hard to explain in words how seamlessly all of these elements worked together to create a really beautiful and realistic environment.
With this visual masterpiece setting the stage, the screenplay does the rest to work visual wonders and keep the story engaging. It just looks so nice throughout every scene. The script is very good and creates a moral for Theodore’s story. The choices for camera angles, cutaways, and use of voice-overs keep your brain engaged and thoughts going. The cinematography was also quite good with some great choices in lighting. All that being said, it’s very distracting during these well-structured scenes when “Samantha” decides to act like an emotional human.
The score was also great with a lot of beautiful piano pieces. The song, “The Moon Song”, was only ok. It’s just a simple folksy guitar piece that sounds nice but isn’t as dynamic as the other nominees. It does seem odd that they didn’t have Scarlett Johansson sing the song (Karen O sings it), since in the movie it’s supposed to be a song from “Samantha” (voiced by SJ) to Theodore.
All in all, it’s nice to watch. I wouldn’t pay to see it in theaters. Wait for Redbox. And be warned – there are a couple really awkward cyber-sex scenes and some bad language.
Best Picture – Nope.
Music (score) – Unlikely. But it is nice.
Music (song) – Nope.
Production Design – I honestly think it’s close between this and The Great Gatsby. I think Her is more creative but TGG won the BAFTA, so, we’ll see…
Original Screenplay – Very possible. It won the Golden Globe but, you know, Woody Allen is the Academy’s darling soooo…..