Director: Spike Jonze
Year Released: 2013
Following an unpleasant separation from his wife (Rooney Mara), a professional love note writer (Joaquin Phoenix), afraid of actual human contact, falls in love with an operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Though admirable as commentary on how technology is a 'separating' device, starving us of the necessity for human contact, the incessantly - and proudly - downbeat tone weighs on the entirety of the picture: it's brooding as intolerable affectation. A good amount of suspension of disbelief is required in order to accept that Phoenix could have emotional connection to a disembodied voice and the disembodied voice's effort to have a physical connection with Phoenix (by bringing over a hooker, played by Portia Doubleday), though well-intentioned (?), is plenty absurd. It's an idea movie, and the idea is a good one, but without Phoenix's commanding performance - he really is one of the best actors alive, and there's no way this works without someone like him - it amounts to sad-core self-consciousness.