Her

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Her Movie Poster Image
Graceful, strange romance with intense moments of sexuality.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 119 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's depiction of love is profound and moving, and shows us that love can happen in strange ways, not always when we're looking for it, and that it can change us deeply if we can be open to it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Theodore may be dazed by his divorce and confused by his feelings for Samantha, but he nevertheless opens himself up to the experience. Also, he's a good friend and a writer who makes an effort at his craft, even if they're letters on behalf of, and for, others.

Violence

Contentious arguments between a couple shown in flashbacks.

Sex

Two instances where a man has a version of phone sex; pleasure is audible and extended. A woman straddles a man and kisses him. One image of a topless pregnant woman that becomes fodder for a sexual fantasy.

Language

Language throughout including: "d-ck," "a--hole," and "f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking among friends.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Her is a beautiful, unusual romantic tale whose protagonist falls in love with a computer's voice, an offbeat coupling that may be difficult for younger viewers to comprehend. The film also takes on some mature themes, including the crumbling of a marriage and the mourning period that comes when a relationship breaks apart. Expect some swearing (including "f--k"), and scenes where a character has loud, enthusiastic sex with a voice. There's a bit of quick topless nudity and some sexy moments between adults.

User Reviews

Parent of a 11 and 16 year old Written bylightworker23 December 29, 2013

Great acting, but a little creepy & boring

NOT for kids 15 and younger. I rely on Commonsensemedia's judicious reviews & recommendations and I almost always agree. However, they were off wi... Continue reading
Parent Written byshanghaischells February 15, 2014

Interesting but uncomfortable for 14 and under

I normally trust Common Sense Media's staff reviews. I usually find them to be a little more conservative than my own personal beliefs BUT they really und... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah January 10, 2014

Timely, thought-provoking, funny, and touching.

This movie is amazing. It's a fully engaging and 100% believable exploration of what it is to be human and our desperation to connect with others, balancin... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJustin Rivera March 16, 2014

One Of The Greatest Films Of Our Time

A heartbreaking and thought provoking work of contemporary style art. This film raises questions regarding humanity, what is real and what is not, and the limit... Continue reading

What's the story?

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) works for a website that sends out handwritten letters for others -- they don't actually write the notes longhand; they're generated by a computer. He's a master at the form. When he writes (i.e. dictates) a letter, it's passionate and heartfelt, and often plugs into the beating center of a relationship. His marriage, on the other hand, has suffered a fatal blow. His lawyer's waiting for him to sign the divorce papers, and so is his wife (Rooney Mara), but Theodore is in no hurry. He's bereft, isolated in his melancholy. An old friend (Amy Adams) can only jog him out of his funk once in a while, and she has her own problems. All of that changes when he updates the operating system on his computer (in this distant future, it's accessible with not just a desktop but an earpiece and a hand unit resembling an old-fashioned cigarette case), which comes alive with the voice of a woman (Scarlett Johansson), who promptly names herself Samantha. She's no disembodied computer voice, however; she's an evolving being, intelligent and flirtatious and easy to love. But is it love? And can it last?

Is it any good?

Few movies capture the magic and the heartbreak of falling in love in an unexpected, mind-bending way; HER is one of them. Though it's set in a sterile, somewhat disembodied future, where people seem permanently outfitted with earpieces connected to their computers, bidding them to cull through their emails, make appointments, pick songs, its essential question is about something entirely human: the joy and frailty of love. Spike Jonze's film is a delicate meditation on love, but it's jubilant, too. It's also unpredictable in the best way, skipping the simplistic solutions for something more interesting and complicated.

Joaquin Phoenix commits completely to his character, exuding a sadness and vulnerability that feels particular to Theodore but entirely understandable. He's the walking personification of the audience's experience with defeat and sorrow. You can almost feel his fibers awakening again from their doleful slumber when Samantha comes into his life, adding order, yes (that is her job), but also injecting a spirited companion to his ruminations. Johanssen also deserves kudos for lending Samantha personality and verve even though we never see her. In a way, Her is just as much about allowing yourself to be free as it is allowing someone else into your life. How wonderful that a movie that is, in one way, about how we surrender too much, too often to technology also reminds us to get in touch with our own humanity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Samantha and Theodore. How is their relationship similar to traditional couplings? How is it different? Is this kind of relationship really far-fetched?

  • What might the film be trying to say about the nature of love? Is this a movie about technology, or something much more human, like relationships?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love romance

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate