Spike Jonze's 'Her' will close New York Film Festival

NEW YORK -- It’s no illusion: Spike Jonze’s “Her” will make its premiere at the New York Film Festival.

The movie about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love -- sort of -- with a digital replica of a woman will close the annual Film Society of Lincoln Center gathering on Oct. 13.

Set in a slightly futuristic Los Angeles, "Her" centers on Theodore Twombly (Phoenix), a man who was once happily married but now feels alone and turns to a computer program named "Samantha" for companionship. He hears and interacts with Samantha as a voice on his smartphone.

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The movie follows in the footsteps of whimsical films such as Craig Gillespie 2007 art-house hit “Lars and the Real Girl” and Andrew Niccol’s 2002 sci-fi musing “S1m0ne” in examining a man who falls in love with a woman who is not quite real. The trailer shows a certain tenderness, and plausibility, in the relationship, and also taps into the complexities of dating in the digital era, as my colleague Amy Kaufman noted in a post on the trailer earlier this week.

In commenting on the announcement, NYFF programming director Kent Jones set the bar high. “Like many people, I’ve come to expect great and surprising things from Spike Jonze, but 'Her' is something altogether new in cinema,” he said. “To discuss even a little bit of the plot -- let’s just say that it’s about lonely people and artificial intelligence -- is to deprive first-time viewers of the opportunity of discovering it themselves.”

The Warner Bros. film, which also stars Amy Adams and Rooney Mara and features Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Samantha, hits theaters on Nov 20.

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"Her" is Jonze's first directorial effort since his 2009 children's-book adaptation "Where the Wild Things Are." In a news release, Film Society of Lincoln Center executive director Rose Kuo said of   Jonze: "In dealing with tragicomic puppeteers, renegade orchid growers, an island of wild things, or a man's unique love affair, visionary filmmaker Spike Jonze has shown himself to be the poet-laureate of our increasingly post-human world."

The announcement marks the third world premiere at the gathering after “Captain Phillips” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” were announced as the opening and centerpiece screenings, respectively.


Trailer Watch: Spike Jonze's 'Her," for the 'Catfish,' 'Lars' crowd?

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Ben Stiller's Secret Life of Walter Mitty to be New York Film Festival centerpiece

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