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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.


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BBC critics selected one of the top 25 films of the 21st century

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Oct 22, 2020

Well,that was different! I might have to watch again to figure out what is going on ?

Jan 04, 2020

Here's an original idea for an art film. The main characters live in New York and are involved in the theatre world. One is a director, the other is an actress. They have relationship problems. We will start by kicking up the misery and drama on page one by having the main character to have an accident which speeds up the confusion and downfall of his situation.
I think that the only way I could have endured this film would to have been to have a lobotomy beforehand. This is the kind of 'art film' that gives 'art films' a bad name.
On the plus side, at least it didn't include the mandatory Phillip Glass music score.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aug 04, 2015


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.

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.

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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.

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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