Scarlett Johansson has appeared in a ton of great movies over the years, but in my opinion, one of her best efforts features just her voice. I’m talking about the 2013 Spike Jonze film Her, which is available to watch on Netflix as of today.
The pic follows Joaquin Phoenix’s sadsack character as he struggles with post-divorce blues, eventually finding companionship from his AI assistant Samantha (who Johansson voices). As the story progresses, the unlikely pair grow closer and their relationship becomes a romance, with the big question being whether what they’re feeling is actually love or simply programming. It’s a sticky Black Mirror-style situation, and Her goes to some strange and imaginative places while trying to answer it.
For a movie that’s coming up to a decade old, Jonze really nails the core idea of what it means to relate to an AI. Since its release, Amazon’s Alexa has become enormously popular, with studies suggesting that having an AI to talk to does actually go some way in fighting loneliness and feelings of isolation (though there are also disturbing reports of babies addressing their mothers as Alexa). That’s on top of a year in which we’ve all been encouraged to stay indoors, so I think now is the perfect time for Netflix to feature this one.
Sadly, Spike Jonze hasn’t directed any features since Her, instead spending his time working on documentaries, music projects and advertisements. It’d be a shame if the Being John Malkovitch, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are director didn’t tackle another project soon, so fingers crossed there are a couple of ideas rattling around in his head.