If I had the wherewithal to direct a movie, I would want to direct like Spike Jonze.
Specifically, I would want to create a flick like Her. It's the sort of film that gives science fiction a GOOD name.
Usually, the genre focuses on action and derring-do, but Her is a romance, which sets it apart from the pack.
The idea of a love affair between a man and an artificial lady isn't original - see Ovid's Pygmalion - but Jonze's approach to the story is very much his own.
He strikes the right balance between art and entertainment and has an aesthete's eye for colour and composition.
The retro-futuristic costumes, props and sets sparkle with subtle sophistication.
At the same time, unlike many arty dudes, Jonze creates stories that can be followed.
The characters have recognisable motivations.
Her is beautiful and earnest, but also playful and warm.
One of the things I like best about the film is that almost everyone, right down to the minor characters, possesses a certain amount of charm and sensitivity.
Of course, no one is as sensitive as our main man Joaquin Phoenix, but then no one ever is.
Spike Jonze doesn't make many feature films, but when he does, you know you're in for a visual and visceral treat.
Jonze deserves his best screenplay win at the recent Golden Globes.
This is one beautiful love story.
Jonze tells you that love is imperfect and not judgmental, and that it may or may not be fulfilling.
The movie also raises questions. How well do we really know our partners or soulmates? And does that knowledge define how we love?
This is a timely and cautionary story, considering that most of us are married to some form of electronic device. We probably text our other halves more than we converse with them in person.
Jonze also has a knack for casting the right actors.
He wrote Theodore Twombly with Joaquin Phoenix in mind, and the actor delivers. He conveys a sense of melancholy that both endears and evokes empathy in us.
You may not see Scarlett Johansson in person, but the actress brings much depth and emotion to the AI being.
Jonze's other actresses, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde, also deserve applause.
STARRING: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams DIRECTOR: Spike Jonze THE SKINNY: In a near-future Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) falls in love with his computer's sentient operating system, an entity who calls herself Samantha (Johansson). Aside from the fact that she doesn't have a body, Samantha is the perfect girlfriend. Question is, how long can the love between a man and an AI endure? RATING: M18
THE CONSENSUS: If there is one romance movie that will make you smile and cry, this is it. You will fall in love with Her.
Get The New Paper for more stories.