Her review

Following 2009's misfire Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze's fourth film as director recalls his earlier work with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (1999's Being John Malkovich and 2002's Adaptation) in its sophistication and smarts. Only here Jonze adds an extra layer of old-fashioned romance and sentiment that helps balance the more intellectual side of the movie.

Set in a near-future version of California, Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as the lonely and introverted Theodore Trombley, who ironically makes his living writing affectionate letters by proxy for people unwilling or unable to do it for themselves. Still coming to terms with his wife (Rooney Mara) leaving him, Theodore's life is transformed when he buys a new operating system for his computer and phone that is based around an artificial intelligence. Naming 'herself' Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), the female OS opens Theodore's eyes to the wonders of the world and their friendship starts changing into a full-blown romance.

Now, unless you're one of those hardcore Apple devotees who queues for endless hours just to get the latest iPhone on the day of release, a story about a man basically falling in love with his smartphone sounds like the most ridiculous thing ever. And yet nothing about the relationship depicted in Her feels even remotely daft or artificial.

In addition to Jonze's heartfelt script (which certainly doesn't pull any punches when it comes to realising the pain that often accompanies romance), a significant portion of the plaudits for the film's success must go to the cast. Despite being nothing more than a breathy voice, Samantha quickly becomes a palpable presence thanks to Johansson's utterly charming performance. And it's hard to think of anyone else who can go from world-weary melancholy to an almost child-like sense of wonder quite so perfectly as Phoenix does here.

Overall, this relationship between a man and his OS feels more authentic and believable than many of those between ordinary people depicted in Hollywood's more traditional rom-coms. Intriguing, rewarding stuff.

Picture: Shot primarily in muted tones, Her's 1080p encode (framed at 1.85:1) might not scream out for attention, but nor does it take long to impress with its overall quality. Detailing is meticulous and beautifully refined, aided by the transfer's superior clarity and sharpness. Best of all, despite the kind of subdued palette that has tripped up plenty of other hi-def transfers in the past, the disc displays no noticeable technical issues whatsoever.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Her's DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack provides a fairly low-key aural experience that nevertheless impresses with its tonality, precision and transparent stereo spread. Just don't go expecting too much in the way of aural fireworks.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: All you get are a 24-minute fly-on-the-wall Making of… doc, a 15-minute featurette discussing love in the modern world and a brief montage of behind-the-scenes footage. In all honestly, we were hoping for something considerably more substantial.
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: A great-looking presentation of this superb modern take on the rom-com. Shame about the lack of extra features though...

Her, Entertainment in Video, Region B BD, £25 Approx