Best Picture Breakdown: Her

Best Picture Breakdown: Her
Movie Minute

POSTED: Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 5:14pm

     It’s award season in Hollywood and one of the most sought after awards is an Oscar. This year several deserving figures have received nominations. From Leonardo DiCaprio’s nomination for Best Actor, to the team of Gravity receiving a nomination for their achievement in visual effects. While these nominations are great, none are more coveted than that of Best Picture. Just a few years ago the Best Picture category increase from 5 nominations to 10, but was soon changed to where each year up to 10 films can receive a nomination. This year 9 films made the cut; American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street.


     Writer and Director Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are) takes us into the not-to-distant future with a look at how close and dependent humans become as technology advances. Her is the story of how a recently divorced and lonely writer, played by Joaquin Phoenix (I Walk The Line) sparks a relationship with his personal operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers). Jonze takes a concept that many may find laughable and creates a story that carries so much weight in truth that it’s hard to deny the film’s true beauty as well as it’s Best Picture nomination.

     There are so many moving parts that make up Her, each one being a whole in and of itself. At first glance the component that stands out the most is the color scheme of the film. The simple clashing between bright and vivid colors with the sometimes depressing mood of the film reflects its overall warm and hopeful nature. Production Designer K.K. Barrett has said in recent interviews that he and Director Jonze chose to use the color red in almost every frame of the film to reflect the main character’s personality—broken yet hopeful. It’s also the color of “Samantha”, the operating systems that Phoenix’s character falls in love with. This showcases the comfort that is found in his connection with “her”.

     The other moving part that stands out is the music. The score to Her is without a doubt the best to a film since The Social Network. Within the context of the film, the music enhances the environment and emotion in the story to the highest level possibly. The film centers around a man who is quiet, closed off, and doesn’t always say what he feels. What the music does is give the audience a sense of what he’s feeling without him saying anything; a powerful technique. Now if you take the score out of the movie and listen to it by itself, you experience something just as amazing as the film. The score by itself can take the listener through the same highs and low and our main character, but with their own life experiences. Simply put, the music in Her can transport you through your own life journey; a rarity nowadays.

     The acting in Her is equal to that of any other film up for a Best Picture nomination. Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson and Amy Adams’ performance were all brilliant, each exhibiting different forms of happiness and heartbreak. They portray to the audience a real-life sense of how heavy hope, achievements and missed opportunities, and happiness and sadness can weigh on a person. Through this they show how every human is searching for a sense of real connection, the underlying message of the film.

      Unfortunately Her is a film that not everyone will appreciate. Some may find it boring or too ridiculous of a concept to take seriously. However, if you’re able to go into the film with an open mind, you will ultimately see why Her is movie making at it’s best.

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