This is the best film I have seen all year, and I saw just about every good film to hit theaters in 2013. I think it's because it is so representational of what it's like to be human.
There are so many things that make this movie special, but I'll just mention a few.
1. The score is INCREDIBLE. The music paired with the beautiful sound design make you FEEL the movie. Sure, you see everything on the screen, which is already beautiful, but then that music hits you and the emotions just start to run. I laughed, I cried, my brain got all tingly. It was an emotional roller coaster, and the score assisted in that so well.
2. The script. I knew how this movie was going to end 30 minutes in. And unlike most who would then say that it's predictable and not worth watching, I consider that awesome, because it means that the script is tight enough to tell a good story with a believable arc. Every scene in this movie is straight up powerful! Like it will fill your heart with sadness and happiness and pain and guilt and confusion. And then rinse and repeat. For 2 hours. It moves through all of the most complex and interesting questions that we should be asking ourselves about what it means to be a human being. About what it means to be alive. This film is about all that life is. And after the screening, as well as during, I found myself questioning things in my own life that either don't make sense or don't have to make sense. Like love and thoughts and emotions. They're all so natural and yet none of us truly understand how they work. In my opinion, moreso than any other film this year, Her has the perfect mix of complex ideas, story, and character development. One of the best scripts ever written.
3. Cinematography. My personal favorite shot to see and use is the extreme close up. And that shot was all over this movie. The reason I love it so much and believe it works so well is because it allows you to see the emotions of the character so plainly. Like their face is right in your face, so you just have to look at it. And that's where Joaquin shines. He delivers such a powerful and emotional performance and the close ups are there to capture it all. They also make great use of the natural backlighting of Shanghai, and the colors all fuse to make it a really pretty movie. I'd say the cinematography is on par with Drive and/or Lost in Translation in terms of the style. It looks like every shot was photographed with the intent to make it the most beautiful shot in the film. And I admire the DP's work. He did a really great job.
More than anything though, this film just made me feel. Everything about it was so beautiful. I didn't want it to end. I felt like the film was controlling me - playing with my mind as if it were a joystick. And that's just something you don't get every day. Very rarely am I awe- stricken by a movie, and this film made my jaw drop. It is without a doubt the best film of the year, and upon just one viewing, one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time.