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A Spike Jonze love story.

Rooney as: Catherine
Genre(s): Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
Written by: Spike Jonze
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Other Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Production Budget: $23m
Total Worldwide Gross: $47.3m
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California and Shanghai, China

  • Set in Los Angeles in the slight future, “Her” follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice (Scarlett Johansson) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.

    From the singular perspective of Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze comes “Her,” an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.

    Production Info

  • Samantha Morton was originally the voice of Samantha. She was present on the set with Joaquin Phoenix every day. After the filming wrapped and Spike Jonze started editing the movie, he felt like something was not right. With Morton’s blessing, he decided to recast the role and Scarlett Johansson was brought and replaced Morton, re-recording all the dialogue.
  • Amy Adams said writer/director Spike Jonze would essentially lock her and Joaquin Phoenix in a room together for an hour or two every other day, and make them talk to each other. Jonze did this so that the actors could get to know each other better. Adams credits this for her and Phoenix’s close friendship.
  • Most of the city backgrounds, especially the ones featuring skyscrapers, are actually filmed in Shanghai. You can see many very identifiable skyscrapers such as the Shanghai World Financial Center.
  • Stuck in the editing process with his early 150-minute cut, Spike Jonze asked Steven Soderbergh to edit it down with his instincts. Soderbergh came back within 24 hours with a 90-minute cut, which helped Jonze make the final version which ran 126 minutes.
  • This is the only movie Spike Jonze has written as well as directed, completely from his own original script.
  • Carey Mulligan was originally cast but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. She was replaced by Rooney Mara.
  • The film takes place in 2017 and 2077.
  • Character Quotes

  • I love you so much I’m gonna fucking kill you!
  • I always felt like you wished I could just be a happy, light, everything’s great, bouncy L.A. wife. But that’s not me.
  • Theodore: So are you happy with the new book?
    Catherine: Oh, you know how I am. But I feel like it’s true to what I set out to do. So I’m happy with that.
    Theodore: You’re your own worst critic, I’m sure it’s amazing. Even that paper you wrote on synaptic behavioral routines made me cry.
    Catherine: Yeah, but everything makes you cry.
  • Catherine: So what’s she like?
    Theodore: Well, her name’s Samantha, and she’s an operating system, and she’s really complex and interesting. I mean it’s only been a few months, but–
    Catherine: Wait. You’re dating your computer?
    Theodore: She’s not just a computer. She’s her own person. She doesn’t just do whatever I want.
    Catherine: I didn’t say that. But it does make me sad that you can’t handle real emotions, Theodore.
  • Waitress: How are you guys doing?
    Catherine: Fine. We used to be married. He couldn’t handle me so he wanted to put me on Prozac. Now he’s madly in love with his laptop.
    Theodore: Well, if you heard the conversation in context. What I was trying to say–
    Catherine: You wanted to have a wife without the challenges of actually dealing with anything real. I’m glad you found someone. It’s perfect.
  • Quoting: Rooney Mara

    On her attraction to the role: Spike originally thought I might be too young to play Catherine but I really went after it. It’s such a powerful story. It raises a lot of interesting questions, not just about relationships but about who we are and how we interact with each other. I loved it and I really wanted to be a part of it.

    On Catherine and Theodore’s relationship: There are flashbacks to some of the important moments between Catherine and Theodore, so you get a sense of their history and their life as a couple and how things have changed.

    Critical Response

    Richard Corliss, Time: Her is, first and always, a relationship movie that surrounds sad, mopey Theodore with the most attractive women. To start by naming three: Wilde, the dominatrix lurking behind the golden smile; Mara, gamely reprising her role of “Girl Who Breaks Up With a Computer Nerd” in The Social Network; and Portia Doubleday as a living surrogate whom Samantha arranges for a possibly unprecedented three-way.

    Anthony Lane, The New Yorker: Mara is smart casting here; she more or less reprises her role from “The Social Network,” in which she called Mark Zuckerberg an asshole, and makes you wonder how far it is from Facebook to a world in which Theodore is the norm.