Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) lives in Los Angeles in a high rise somewhat disarranged apartment since his separation from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara). He works and writes for “Beautiful Handwritten Letters.com” composing personal letters as if he was the actual male or female writer to a loved one. Two of his close friends are documentary makers Amy (Amy Adams) and Charles (Matt Letscher) who at the eight years of marriage eventually separate as well.
Theodore is lonely and quite the technology geek who tries to mask his alone time by playing video games with a very foul mouth alien child (voice of Spike Jonze) and also by having sex chats with some very scary women, for example “sexy kitten” (voice of Kristen Wiig) who likes to be choked with certain dead members of the feline family while in climax mood. After many attempts at finding happiness he chooses to install an OS1 operating system which happens to have a life of its own. The voice and person Theodore selects is Samantha (voice of Scarlett Johansson) who after a period of time develops a relationship with Theodore. They eat together, run, take walks on the beach, vacation, sleep together and of course have sex with each other. How you ask? Well the voice has a way of satisfying ones needs at least for a period of time. Hearing someone say that they love you can always fill that hole in the heart left from someone else but not being able to touch them can cause complications. Samantha tries to eliminate that issue by introducing a surrogate named Isabella (Soko) who Theodore could caress while listening to Samantha’s voice. Odd yes even for Theodore!
Can a person fall in love with an artificial person, a voice only, an OS1 so to speak? Apparently yes! Divorce papers to Catherine get signed, real emotions get discussed, introductions to friends are made and Theodore and Samantha becomes a real couple. Theodore confides in Samantha about everything but apparently she was withholding 8316 others of which 641 were in love. Like an owl swooping down on its prey when love ends whether physically, mentally but always emotionally it rips the heart apart like the talons of a hungry predator. Samantha has done many things for Theodore with letters from his life making his own love life seem real and authentic but in the end there is truly nothing more real than the love of someone real and sometimes it takes a journey to discover that some love is forever and some is not. Send!
Jonze does an excellent job directing and writing this story. Grant it I thought there were many moments that drag on and the film itself could have been shorter in length but the message in the story about technology and the aspects of how it is changing our social way of life is a phenomenal message for people to wake up and realize that technology is not always our friend let alone our lover. Some interesting choice of apparel in the film especially the high wasted men’s pants that I liked but did not like for the most part. During the sex scenes one in particular when the screen goes black I thought was a very imaginative use of time making the audience use their own imagination for several minutes in the story in the dark. A nice score especially the piano moments along with some brilliant cinematography helps to make this film more interesting then it will be to some but overall it is very well done.
Phoenix is brilliant as the tech geek in search of answers to his life and the reasons he makes the choices he does that sometimes hurts the people around him. Adams looks a bit ragged in this role but she truly appears as the friend most people would like to have to talk too. Chris Pratt who plays the receptionist Paul at Theodore’s job adds a touch of awkward but he does it well. Mara is not a huge role other than several flashback memories but she is a big support to the story line. Olivia Wilde who plays the blind date is only a cameo appearance but helps to launch the main plot. As for Johansson last but not least I can see why even though you don’t see her but hear her why a single heterosexual man would like to listen to her voice especially at night. Just saying! Written and enjoyed especially for the meaning to a very timely story with two and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.