“Who would have guessed, after a year of headlines about the N.S.A. and about the porousness of life online, that our worries on that score — not so much the political unease as a basic ontological fear that our inmost self is possibly up for grabs — would be best enshrined in a weird little romance by the man who made Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are? And it is romantic: Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) click together as twin souls, not caring that one soul is no more than a digital swarm.

New Yorker illustration by Owen Freeman.

“Sad, kooky, and daunting in equal measure, Her is the right film at the right time. It brings to full bloom what was only hinted at in the polite exchanges between the astronaut and hal, in 2001: A Space Odyssey and, toward the end, as Samantha joins forces with like minds in cyberspace, it offers a seductive, nonviolent answer to Skynet, the system in the Terminator films that attacked its mortal masters. We are easy prey, not least when we fall in love. The human heart is where the tame things are.” — from Anthony Lane‘s New Yorker review (dated 12.23).