Writer/director Spike Jonze asks the question "what is love" in this unusual new film. It's a love story for the modern age that also wants to know "how" we love as well. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore Twombly, an introverted man who falls in love with his computer's operating system. Yes, it's a strange premise that you either accept or not but something wonderful happens as you keep watching...it does work and you are drawn into this odd relationship thanks to the clever script and heartfelt acting.
When Theodore turns on his new OS 1 computer and asks for a female voice, he meets Samantha, with vocals by Scarlett Johansson. Ms. Johansson is never seen as she is just an OS but this story, set in the not to distant future, gives her the ability to be self aware and intuitive. Theodore and Samantha begin a real relationship that seems ridiculous at first but grows into something tender and believable. Credit the remarkable acting by Mr. Phoenix and the terrific vocal display by Ms. Johansson to bring this relationship to life.
The film also stars Rooney Mara as Catherine, Theodore's soon to be ex-wife and Amy Adams as his close friend, Amy. Each plays a significant part as Mr. Jonze explores the ruminations of love from multiple perspectives.
The cinematography and visuals create a futuristic Los Angeles without resorting to science fiction that sets a perfect tone for Theodore's world. While a love story, the film is also a parable for the dangers of technology and the isolationist environment we continue to embrace with every new upgrade.