Claire: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 8.1/10 IMDB (Currently IMDB Top 250: #206).

Spike Jonze sure has a range of talent! He wrote (but didn’t direct) Bad Grandpa — a movie that made us laugh harder than any other movie we watched during the year we watched it. He directed (but didn’t write) Adaptation.  He’s been part of the Jackass writing crew forever. He directed Where The Wild Things Are. He was a producer for Synecdoche, New York. He was an actor on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. I’m just so totally confused about the amazing range of work he seems to get.

This one is written AND directed by him. That doesn’t happen much for him. It turned out really well.  I’m surprised it’s currently in the IMDB Top 250 movies ever. It’s a sci-fi romance drama, though Netflix tries to act like it’s a sci-fi romantic comedy. It’s not a comedy. It’s a pretty serious movie.

It’s simply a very thought-provoking movie about loneliness and drifting apart from others as you grow and change — not always together.  When we get older, we get so specialized that we often aren’t compatible with others.  Robotic lovers and artificial intelligence companions ARE the future, like it or not. And we will lose touch with each other even further.  This movie is about that.

But it’s also another exercise in seeing how technology may shape the way we live in the future. A little bit Robot And Frank, a little bit Sim0ne, a little bit A.I. [the Spielberg movie], this movie totally explores the philosophy of artificial intelligence, whether they have “feelings”, and how they themselves may come to have motivations and aspirations.

It also challenges the concept of what a relationship can be. Can you have a sex life with someone who doesn’t have a body? (Though I often wondered why Samantha didn’t just draw up plans to place her conciousness inside an articulatable RealDoll — that issue was actually addressed by the reading-a-book metaphor she used later in the movie.)

It’s also weird to have a movie where we only *hear* Scarlett Johansson, instead of *see* her. It really allowed me to elevate my appreciate of her voice more — she could totally do animation. We also get to hear, but not see, Kristen Wiig — but only for a minute. Don’t worry, though — not all attractive women in the film are heard but not seen! There’s plenty of Amy Adams AND Olivia Wild AND we get to see Portia Doubleday at age 25 after only having seen her at age 20. Just saying. A lot of this movie is staring at Joaquin Phoenix talking to himself, but not all of it.

But anyway — a very cerebral, well-written movie in my opinion. Carolyn, not quite being as tech-y as me, didn’t quite like it as much as myself.

Written and directed by Spike Jonze (writer of Jackass, Bad Grandpa movies, Where the Wild Things Are, director of Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are).

Starring Joaquin Phoenix (The Village, Signs, Hotel Rwanda) as Theodore.
Scarlett Johansson as Samantha, the A.I.
Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Take Me Home Tonight, Movie 43, What’s Your Number?, Jennifer’s Body, The Five-Year Engagement) as Paul, the receptionist coworker.
Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake movies, Side Effects, The Social Network, Youth In Revolt, A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)) as Catherine, the ex-wife.
Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Superbad, The Brothers Solomon, Men In Black 3, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The To Do List, Year One, Adventureland, 7 eps of The Venture Bros., 4 eps of The Human Giant, 2 eps of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, 2 eps of South Park, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Chat Room Friend #2.
Amy Adams (Lois Lane in Man Of Steel, American Hustle, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Psycho Beach Party, Cruel Intentions 2, 3 eps of The Office, 3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Smallville) as Amy, as Theodore’s friend.
Olivia Wilde (Tron 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Change-Up, Drinking Buddies, Better Living Through Chemistry, Year One, 1 ep of Tron: Uprising, 1 ep of Portlandia, 1 ep of American Dad) as Blind Date.
Portia Doubleday (Youth In Revolt) as Surrogate Date Isabella.
Kristen Wiig (Young Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, Date Night, Anchorman 2, Adventureland, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, The Brothers Solomon, How To Train Your Dragon, Saturday Night Live, Despicable Me, Girl Most Likely, 2 eps of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Drunk History) as SexyKitten (the phone sex in the very beginning).