Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze is back with another quirky high concept drama about just how sad and pathetic you are. Yes, you, “person browsing the internet aimlessly instead of having an active social life”. Are you sitting alone in your dark room right now, staring at the neon glare of your laptop screen, failing to comprehend just how banal and miserable your existence really is? Well then remember to check this movie out!
From the Oscar-nominated director Spike Jonze comes this new futuristic sci-fi about how technology is harmful, because every other sci-fi ever hadn’t made that point already. It follows Theodore Twombly, who was called Loser McDorkly in previous drafts, a sensitive writer in near-future Los Angeles, who strikes up an intimate connection with an advanced operating system, called “Samantha”.
The film follows their unique love story, which from the trailer looks equal parts funny, touching, sad, and creepy.
Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly
Scarlett Johansson voices Samantha. The character was initially voiced by Samantha Morton, but Jonze replaced her with Johansson. He talked to Vulture about it:
I think, unfortunately, it’s pretty normal in terms of my not-quite-painless-for-everyone-involved ‘process’ of discovering what the movie is.
Samantha was with us on set and was amazing. It was only in post production, when we started editing, that we realized that what the character/movie needed was different from what Samantha and I had created together. So we recast and since then Scarlett has taken over that role.
I love Samantha. I’ve been friends with her forever and I hope we make lots of things together in the future.
Amy Adams as Amy
Rooney Mara as Catherine, Twombly’s ex-wife. Carey Mulligan was originally cast in the role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
Olivia Wilde as Twombly’s Blind date
Portia Doubleday as Isabella
Sam Jaeger as Dr. Johnson
It gets a limited release on December 18, 2013, and a wide release on January 10, 2014.
The score will be provided by indie band Arcade Fire, because why not. I haven’t listened to their music much, but I do like that song from the John Carter trailers (this one), so hopefully they’ll give the film’s sound a unique feel and not turn out be a hipstery gimmick.
The Good Stuff
Considering the number of people that are willing to buy blow up dolls, and advances in artificial intelligence, someone was bound to make this film sooner or later. Even if you aren’t intrigued by the premise, the fact that it’s being realized into screen by A-list actors and an Oscar-nominated director should tickle your fancy.
The Bad Stuff
I am not the biggest fan of Spike Jonze films, and the concept here seems very one-note. If the point is about how technology has made us detached from real experiences, then at two hours it’ll feel overstated. If Jonze is actually trying to carve out a genuine, offbeat romantic drama between a human and an operating system then I’m not sure many people will see the point.
Our Clever Prediction
It’ll have its fans but I don’t see it doing well at the Oscars. I do see lonely losers getting into relationships with their iPhones in, like, five years. If Siri comes with a Scarlett Johansson voice then count me in too.