In one of his Oscar-season analysis pieces, Variety‘s Tim Gray wonders if 60-something Oscar voters will relate to the futuristic love story in Spike Jonze‘s Her. Pointing to “rumors” about Academy voters not being able to follow or sustain interest in The Social Network because “they didn’t know what Facebook was,” Gray (who doesn’t precisely state that he’s seen Jonze’s film, but let’s assume he has) seems to be accepting a working hypothesis that Her won’t play with anyone who isn’t savvy with computers or smart phones. There’s nothing to that. All you have to do is accept that the lead protagonist, a lonely writer played by Joaquin Phoenix, could fall in love with an extremely bright and emotionally responsive female voice and personality (played by Scarlett Johansson), especially with Phoenix feeling melancholy over a recent divorce. There’s nothing more to it than that. Gray then says that “Warner Bros.’ big assignment is to get Academy members to see it, since voters have limited time and don’t always embrace high-concept films.” Except Her isn’t a high concept film about technology or…you know, anything that could be considered challenging or exotic in a conceptual sense. Her is a very delicate and straightforward film about love, longing and intimacy. That’s it — that’s all it is. The tech element is relatively minimal.
And by the way, earlier today I wrote a brilliant remedy for Her‘s soft-third-act problem. I can’t post it until…God, for quite a while now that I think of it. Probably not until January, at least. The spoiler whiners will be all over me. I shared it with some of the critics and columnists who saw it yesterday. It’ll just have to wait.