Synecdoche, New York

Title: Synecdoche, New York
Year: 2008
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Writer: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Tom Noonan, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emily Watson
Music: Jon Brion
Synopsis: a lonely, frightened theater director living in a dream world uses a genius grant to stage a replica of his life in a warehouse
How I saw it: on video, yesterday (rented from Netflix)
Subjective Rating: 7/10 8/10 (Great)
Objective Rating: 10/10 c. 3.8/4 (Great)

The quality of work that went into this – the acting, the music, the writing, the million fascinating details in every frame – is excellent.  I still didn’t love it, although I can’t quite say why; it’s a very good movie.  Usually when a movie is described as having “dream logic,” I’m ready to turn it off and do something else.  Probably because that’s typically used as code for doing whatever random, surreal nonsense seemed like a good idea at the time.  But with this movie, it actually did use dream logic.  I didn’t always know what was literally going on, but still at any point I could have paused it and explained what was going on, and why.  So, it’s strange on a level that’s strange relative to other Charlie Kaufman movies – all new levels of bizarre – without ever alienating an impatient veiwer who expects movies to make clear sense (me).


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