Some directors demand attention for every project they work on, and Spike Jonze is one of them. This is even more impressive when you total up his films: they amount to three – Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things are.
Phoenix promoting The Master in Toronto last year
His latest – ‘Her’ – tells the story of Theodor (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely word-a-day man in the big city, which, from the trailer, seems to be in the not-so-distant future. When he encounters the "world's first artificially intelligent operating system” – named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) – his life changes.
But it doesn’t change in the way Apple or Google reckon your ‘life changes’ when you get a new piece of technology though; this isn’t Siri. Samantha is a human in every respect but physicality, according to Theodor anyway, and it’s not long before he falls in love with her.
From the trailer we can see a typically distant performance from Phoenix; he’s used to playing the outsider but, having excelled at that type of role in The Village, Walk The Line and The Master, it’s interesting to see him do it in a modern, more socially recognizable context.
‘Her’, which also stars Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams and Rooney Mara, is set for a November 20th release date. It would be easy to talk about the film’s Oscar chances if Joaquin Phoenix hadn’t blasted the Oscars last year. He received a Best Actor nomination despite that, and, even though Daniel Day Lewis was always going to win for Lincoln, you got the impression Phoenix was never going to win for The Master.
Scarlett Johansson stars as the lovable computer