It’s not every day that Joaquin Phoenix manages to stun his audience with an incredible vision of his psyche which more or less reflects through his creative deliveries and artistic performances rather than recorded snippets of press junkets and interviews. The film actor is as mysterious as they come and not since Commodus has he managed to petrify his audience so much as he did with the film, in 2013.
And one of the rare aspects that made the movie so convincing in its fractured and reality was the haunting, looming, ever-consistent presence of Scarlett Johansson’s voice in the background of the narrative.
The Spike Jonze film that was powerful enough to leave entire city blocks reeling with the emanating waves of existential sadness, melancholy, and tragedy had a hard time coming to fruition. Like an artist immersed in every minute brushstroke of a painting, Spike Jonze forgot to take a step back and take in all the colors at once. But when he did, there was a crucial element that was missing from the piece. Not until the film’s theatrical cut went halfway into post-production did the director realize what he really needed in order to complete .
The star, Samantha Morton, who was present every step of the way with the project’s development, even keeping company every day on set, lent her voice to the AI. Yet for reasons left unknown, it was not Morton who we wear in the film but rather a very familiar, very popular actress, . Whether it was because Morton sounded too mechanical or too real or altered between the two, no one really knows.
However, by whatever designs of fate, chance, or pure skill, the director’s decision to bring in Johansson was what grounded the entire film and gave it the anchor it needed to make the story so tragically beautiful.
Despite the beauty that Jonze and Joaquin Phoenix manage to capture in the film, there is an essence to Scarlett Johansson’s raspy voice that is almost hypnotic for the human mind. And it’s this quality that ingrained the deep-seated conviction in the director to overturn Samantha Morton and film all her dialogues once again, but this time with the Marvel star in the recording studio instead.
But no matter how perfect everything seems in the film’s theatrical cut, not all means justify the end. And the audience is almost left feeling bad for Samantha Morton who was so cruelly betrayed by Spike Jonze, who essentially did not deem her voice to be good enough in the given context.