I can honestly say that I was stunned by this movie. When I saw the previews and heard the premise, I instantly dismissed it as one of those artsy, indie movies that critics rave about but no one ever sees. I had a couple of hours to kill, and it was either "Her" or "Frozen", and I just thought being a 49 year old man sitting alone watching "Frozen" was a little on the pathetic side (and probably a little creepy), especially when my daughter already saw it with her mother.
So I set my expectations quite low, and the movie opens with an obviously lonely Theodore Twombly (I hated this name when I heard it, it seemed so trite and intentionally affected), played by Joaquin Phoenix. In fact, I wasn't crazy about Joaquin Phoenix being in this movie because the last time I saw him was on Letterman where he was obviously uncooperative and disheveled. I think he also announced he was going to be a rapper or something and was retiring from acting. At any rate, yeah, I get that Twombly is a lonely guy and depressed about something, but thankfully Spike Jonze didn't beat anyone over the head with this.
It is set in the near future, so I think having an operating system slightly more advanced than Siri and as a learning algorithm is entirely possible. Twombly buys and installs Operating System 1 (OS1), and Scarlett Johansson's greets him. Even if you didn't know who she was, her voice is perfect for this role. It is friendly, playful, sexy, emotional-she really should be the voice of some operating system because it sounds so genuine. She explains to Twombly that she is the first generation of a new operating system, and has to learn her owner's personality to become better at her job-fulfilling needs. She doesn't really say all of this, but you get the gist.
Slowly, Twombly builds up this relationship with OS1 (she named herself "Samantha"), and even though you know that it's inevitable he would fall in love with her, I was still kind of shocked at how slick the transition was; she's a phone's operating system, for crap's sake. The developing friendship and then genuine love they have for each other takes you through all the stages, and it reminds you of that one special person that you fell in love with. All of the emotions, like being giddy with excitement knowing you would see that person later in the day, or talk on the phone, it's all on the screen. There wasn't a moment of being disingenuous in this movie, and when trouble begins, your heart aches because you've been through it with another person. It doesn't matter that she is a phone's operating system, or not human.
I won't spoil anything by telling you what happens, or how it ends. I will just say that I HAVE to give this movie a 93 out of 100, and this is the highest score I have given to date. I need to see it again because I may have missed some things, but I bet that I will give it an even higher score after that. It was THAT good. Not many movies can make you laugh at absurd parts, make your skin crawl when you know something terrible is about to happen, and make you feel so sorry for those afflicted with the curse of being in love, but this movie did all of this and more.