Spike Jonze is a great director. While we might not always feel like going through whatever he's going to put us through in one of his movies I just have to say it can't be easy for him. With Hitchcock at least he could say it was because the story was about finding something, or hiding from something, and that's why he would put the audience through the wringer.
In "Her" we have a tale that's part science fiction part absurdism part romantic comedy and part tragedy. But there's something else in there, like the film states a "space between the words."
You can tell a person has made a good film because looking at the film you say "that's the most "Spike Jonze" Spike Jonze film." Spielberg can do a lot of things, he's proved that, but when we all go to the theater it's because he's doing what nobody else can, making a Spielberg movie. Same with Tarantino or anyone else.
It doesn't hurt that Jonze also wrote this film. Something about the wholeness of it, like he's trying to capture these performers in a, I don't know, loving way? It's like the actors actually take the jump into showing a different part of themselves, something we don't see much. I mean how do you market that? It's easier to market an actor as "this guy can play a general, this guy is great as a dad."
Phoenix as this lost and "melancholy" person really trying to understand why he is stuck. He's not just blown away by this "day in, day out" life he has, the bizarre handwritten letters writing job, blown away by his failed marriage. Yes he's alone but part of what makes this film such a stirring portrait is we so often are given easy answers for characters in films.
I can't really explain too much without spoiling the meat of the story, and the journey it takes you on. Part examination of this weird iPhone world we're obviously moving into, part examination of the alienated spaces we find ourselves with this weird iPhone world. Part examination of the normal alienated spaces we find ourselves in, in the dark of the night, wondering so very many things about why we're where we are.
Those questions they don't just disappear, they are carried around by us all through the day. "Her" walks a balance, constantly playing with these very human and funny moments weighed against these deeper realities we might think of as spiritual. But all that time it questions whether people can stay together, whether anyone can stay together knowing we change and grow.