Writer/director Spike Jonze (with a post-production boost from Steven Soderbergh) directs this sweetly weird but much-acclaimed story about a lonely writer in the process of a divorce, who buys a new operating system which provides him with an electronic companion. The more he talks with the OS, the smarter it gets. This unique and unpredictable film holds our attention from the very beginning.

We see (and hear):
  • Joaquin Phoenix ("Walk the Line") stars as Theodore, the mildly depressed fellow with the new operating system; he selects a female voice and names it "Samantha." I've never seen Phoenix laugh so freely.
  • Amy Adams ("Man of Steel") brings us Amy, a friend in his residential tower who is married to a control freak.
  • Rooney Mara ("The Social Network") is his soon-to-be ex. All they have to do is sign the divorce papers but they have never discussed what went wrong.
  • Olivia Wilde ("Butter") plays the charming blind date who doesn't want to be a flash in the pan. She would really like a relationship.
  • Scarlett Johansson ("Don Jon") voices Samantha, the irresistibly sweet and funny OS, who becomes the light of his life.
  • Chris Pratt ("Delivery Man") is Paul, totally happy to go on a double date, even though his friend Theodore is dating an operating system.
This has been nominated for three Golden Globes, so let me add my own comments: the editing is brilliant. Subtle expressions which flit across Phoenix's face, reflect his reactions to Samantha's voice as she speaks. There are many long, long takes of just his face and voice reacting to Samantha. You will NOT be bored unless you have a hearing problem, in which case either go to a theater with closed captions or wait for the DVD. By the way, in another auditorium (same complex) the next day, I saw previews for this one and could hear every single word. Maybe it was the copy we saw at the screening. Hmmm....

Shot in Shanghai and Los Angeles, augmented by some green screen work, this gives us a frightening peek at the not-too-distant future, with everyone totally involved with his or her hand-held electronic device; there is no human interaction on the street, in the train or at the desk. Scary.... (Have you walked down the street lately?)
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Here is a preview:
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