Synecdoche, New York
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A theater director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he attempts to create a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse as part of his new play.

October 24, 2008

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Synecdoche, New York

Reviewed by Ccharisma

Charlie Kaufman has a creative mind. A unbelievable mind of creativity. This is his directorial debut, but you know his work. He has become a name in movies because of his writing. He wrote Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Being John Malkovich, and Adaptation to name a few. All of the films he is a part of have a message that is not so clear at times. They are a little crazy and unique. But his films are always fresh and original. However, Synecdoche, New York is not able to reach the heights of the others I have mentioned.

The story is about a a theatre director named Caden Cotard. His wife and daughter leave him and he finds there is something going on with his body, and he could die any day. So, he decides he is going to put on the biggest, most truthful play the world has ever seen. How does he do it? He gets a huge warehouse and re-creates New York City, and eventually his life and all of the people who are a part of it. Unfortunately, this creation of his is never complete. The pre-production takes all of his life. He spends the rest of his life trying to get it right and in the end has nothing to show for it.

Now the performances are good. Philip Seymour Hoffman is always fantastic. He breathes life in to Caden Cotard. Samantha Morton plays his love interest, and she is very talented as well. She is not a big name, but always does good work in the movies she is in. I have to give credit to Charlie Kaufman. He really tries to push the envelope in this. He is a creative, intelligent guy. The only problem is he makes films that he only understands and no one else might.

Now, I’m not saying every person will not understand it. Every person will come out of this with a different conclusion. Kaufman’s a guy who wants to make you think. There is nothing wrong with that. But by the end of this film I simply don’t care anymore. It drags on for too long and I feel like I’m aging while Caden Cotard is. Also, it’s depressing. Too depressing. It is not a rule that every film must have a happy ending, but there is really no sign of hope anywhere in this film. Maybe the end. Maybe. I read where some critics say you may have to go see it a second time to really grasp it. Maybe that’s true. I don’t think so. And if that was the case, I wouldn’t be able to sit through it a second time anyways.

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