Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York

DVD - 2009
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Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. Determined to create a piece of brutal realism and honesty, he gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in Manhattan's theater district. He instructs each to live out their constructed lives in a small mockup of the city outside. As the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden's own life veers wildly off track. His daughter, Olive, is growing up under questionable guidance. He's helplessly driving his marriage to actress Claire into the ground. His daughter, Ariel, is mentally handicapped. He steadily blurs the line between the world of the play and that of his own deteriorating reality. As he pushes the limits of his relationships, both personally and professionally, a change in creative direction arrives in Millicent Weems, a celebrated theater actress who may offer Caden the break he needs.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2009]
ISBN: 9781435948907
1435948904
Branch Call Number: DVD SYNECDOCHE
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (124 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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richmole
Dec 18, 2018

Are you going to "like" this movie? I don't know. Did I like it? Somewhat. That's the problem, I find, with "revered" artistic or creative work in film or in fiction. A lot of the time I'm told, I'm urged, I'm almost coerced into seeing something or reading something that others are passionate about. I liked and admired film critic, Roger Ebert, and he was certainly passionate about this one (the mere title of which is hard to pronounce and remains an enigma to most of us):
"I think you have to see Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" twice. I watched it the first time and knew it was a great film and that I had not mastered it. The second time because I needed to. The third time because I will want to."

Gosh, I guess I fail the Ebert test, then. Because I saw it once, and won't see it again. Maybe I failed to "master" it. What I enjoyed MORE than the movie, is one of the special features in which star Philip Seymour Hoffman talks about the movie. Very interesting. More interesting than the movie. At least, for me.

This movie was made by writer-turned-director Charlie Kaufman, who won an Oscar for the script of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Millions raved. Oh, goody, I thought. I like Sci-fi. I love Jim Carrey. Like Kate Winslet and Tom Wilkinson, too. I'll really dig this movie! Now, see how wrong you can be? Tried it TWICE (Roger!) couldn't finish it either time. Just couldn't penetrate whatever was supposed to be going on.

Well, things are looking up: I watched this Charlie Kaufman movie all the way through.

a
akirakato
Mar 01, 2018

Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman in 2008, this American drama depicts the life of Caden Catard---an ailing theatre director as he works on an increasingly elaborate stage production whose extreme commitment to realism begins to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality.
Despite the interesting introduction of the DVD cover, the leading part of the first 30 minutes appears so boring that I almost quit watching.
Then I fast-forward to seek for an interesting part.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any fascinating part.
Most of the film seems pretentious or self-indulgent, if not too personal.
After all, it turns out to be a disappointment, if not a flop.

n
Nursebob
Feb 23, 2018

Combining the audacity of Fosse’s "All That Jazz" with the cryptic details of Anderson’s "Magnolia", Kaufman draws on theatrical hyperbole to highlight one man’s rage against his own mortality. Using telescoping timelines, overlapping characters and an odd dream logic, he creates a skewed reality which is both seductive and mystifying. “Fate is what you create...” bellows a character at one point, “...every choice you make changes everything...and you only get one chance to play it out!” Kaufman’s brilliant script is constantly catching you off guard with its unexpected turns and sly allusions (google “Cotard Delusion” and “synecdoche” for starters). He then fills his elaborately layered sets with tantalizing clues and visual tropes, whether it’s the briefly glimpsed title of a book or a chronically smouldering house. Puzzling, enigmatic and impossible to fully appreciate with one viewing. We may not grasp all the finer tricks, but Kaufman’s sympathetic portrayal of a painfully flawed everyman can’t help but strike a chord.

p
posie12
Sep 27, 2017

I got to the point where I couldn't wait for him to die. It just got too confusing, much like life I suppose.

b
BuffinzHund
Aug 04, 2015

Jaw-dropping.
Depressing.
Excellent.

g
GandalfStormcrow
Dec 10, 2014

Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut is a beautiful, over-ambitious, emotional mess of a film. While at times brilliant, this film doesn't, imho, measure up to Kaufman's previous work and one wonders how the film might have been different had Spike Jonze not left the project to direct 'Where the Wild Things Are' instead. If the movie left you scratching your head, I advise you to see it again and watch very closely, as it is meticulously crafted and even the oddest elements are absolutely intentional and worthy of attention. Also, viewing this film with the idea that Hoffman's character may already be dead and in Purgatory can shed new light to some of the more baffling aspects of the film.

e
ehm_chen
Jun 15, 2014

I agree with much of what CuriousGeorge333 said, including the part about most people not agreeing. I think the vast majority of people will find this tedious and over-the-top artsy. It's kind of like "Being on John Malkovich" times 100, and on downers. I'm sure a bunch of it went over my head, but I still enjoyed it and how it made me think about entertainment, reality and life.

love_my_library_card Apr 08, 2014

All these fine, accomplished actors, working so hard on this film, and I simply didn't care. Stopped watching after an hour; figured it was not going to get any less convoluted.

c
CuriousGeorge333
Jan 11, 2014

Though I am quite certain many -- okay, 99+% of people -- will strongly disagree, in my opinion, this is one of the greatest films of all time. Extremely odd and bizarre? Yes, absolutely. But one could also say highly original, as well. Confusing? Most definitely. But so rewarding when finally understood. I did not understand this film the first time I viewed it, but then neither did famed film critic, Roger Ebert. In order to properly understand this film, it is virtually essential to watch it a minimum of two times. As Roger Ebert says, this film is about nothing less than LIFE itself. It is about YOU, and it is about me. One must have a very open mind in order to have any chance of truly appreciating this film. One must also free themselves of any expectations of what a film "should" be. Sit back, don't resist, and surrender yourself to the unique and eccentric mind and perspective of writer, director, Charlie Kaufman, in his directorial debut. Accept this film for what it is, and do not judge it by what you think a film should be. Do not expect to get this film on the first viewing. It is almost a certainty that you will not. I would not recommend this film to anyone who was unwilling to watch it at least two times, even if they didn't like it the first time. ***I*** did not like this film the first time, but it is now one of my all time favorites. I owe thanks to Roger Ebert for this, as I would not have watched this film, much less two times, if not for his review. If there is any justice, this film will rise in prominence, at least among true cinephiles, over time, until it is eventually listed among the greats. This film is absolutely brilliant. You have never seen anything like it.

michlmac Feb 24, 2012

Compelling without being enjoyable. I won't rehash the plot, since everyone else has already given a sense of it. Truth is, there really isn't much plot - a hell of a lot of concept, though. The machinations become so convoluted and self-referencing that those involved with its making had to rely on the script supervisor to keep them focused. In the bonus features, everyone - when not saying "you know," - talks about the film's humor, which must have been in the making of it. There was damn little of it in the viewing. Also, the play that Caden is mounting is supposed to be an honest look at life, but honesty is confused with morbidity. Some of the acting gets this mish-mosh from one to two stars.

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GandalfStormcrow
Dec 13, 2014

Funeral Monologue Pt. 1

Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make. You can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is. It's what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to, but it doesn't really.

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GandalfStormcrow
Dec 13, 2014

Funeral Monologue Pt. 2:

And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is, I feel so angry, and the truth is, I feel so f--king sad, and the truth is, I've felt so f--king hurt for so f--king long and for just as long I've been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why. Maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own.

Well, f--k everybody. Amen.

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