After loads of recommendations, I wanted to see Her--especially since it explores technology and personhood.
Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule ranked it second for the year:
The heart of Her may be digital, but even as it betrays the fears and attractions of a world infused by and addicted to the siren call of social media and other invasive technological advances, its emotional range remains stubbornly analog, encompassing the recognizable warmth and unfulfilled longing of lovers from the past, like Rick and Ilsa fading into ones and zeroes on a virtual tarmac.PAL says:
Her is quite the meticulous and creepily seductive criticism of our techno-orientation toward transhumanism. It is the dystopian film of our time, a haunting glimpse at the near future.
The NYTimes opinion section offers a philosophical consideration:
“Her” raises two questions that have long preoccupied philosophers. Are nonbiological creatures like Samantha capable of consciousness — at least in theory, if not yet in practice? And if so, does that mean that we humans might one day be able to upload our own minds to computers, perhaps to join Samantha in being untethered from “a body that’s inevitably going to die”?Francisco and I were pretty disappointed--maybe it's just too hard to make a rom-com in which one character is only a voice; maybe the imagined techno-future it presents is just a little too absurd (random phone sex with a woman whose fantasies include being choked by a dead cat; a 3-D video game in which there's a weird, dirty-mouthed little marshmallow character); maybe Scarlett Johansson's voice is just a little too breathy and voluptuous to pass as a computer. We found it awkward and only funny in its awkwardness.
In one sense, I have to acknowledge, having spent more years of my life in long-distance relationships than I care to admit, Her resonates--Theodore and his operating system-girlfriend, Samantha's relationship developed not unlike that of a couple who lives apart--hours and hours of talking on the phone, describing your days, reading each other's work, longing to be physically present.
In another sense, it's just too absurd to buy: Samantha's artificial intelligence, which can adapt and adjust to new information, pretty quickly surpasses that of humanity--and, at the end, does a pretty human thing.