Las Vegas Critics

Synecdoche, New York

By Nick Manteris · 0 Comments · Leave a Comment

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Hope Davis in Synecdoche, New York

After watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I immediately scoured the internet to find out about this Charlie Kaufman guy. During this research I learned that Kaufman’s next project was going to be a horror movie. A couple years later I heard that he was making a movie about a theater director constructing a mini-city inside of a city and thought that the horror project must have been put on hold or abandoned. About fifteen minutes into Synecdoche, New York I realized that this movie is the horror project. It’s not a traditional horror movie by any means, opting instead to show us the literal horrors of everyday life that we all experience.

I imagine that most people have heard Shakespeare’s quote “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players” and there are probably quite a few that have also seen Michel Gondry’s video for the Bjork song, “Bachelorette.” These two items surely must have been influential in the creation of Synecdoche, New York. And simply being alive could have provided the rest of the inspiration needed to create such a far-reaching and creative film. A second viewing might reveal all kinds of things that I missed the first time through, but it might be a while before I could handle it. If there were vendors walking around selling guns in the theater I may have purchased one halfway through, but not because the movie is bad…because of life.


The film starts out slowly and seems to focus on disease and the threat of death before moving on to the cheerier topics of loss and abandonment. There’s plenty of time to really let these concepts sink in because of the extremely slow pace of the movie. Eventually there is an added complexity in the situations and we learn that the onscreen world has some fantastical elements, so there is enough going on in your head that it becomes more tolerable. This movie will probably provide a different set of insights to every person that watches (I felt that a couple parts were addressed specifically to me) and the end result isn’t as bleak as this review might make it seem, but the subject matter is pretty heavy.

Tags: Movies, Nick, 8/10, Bachelorette, Bjork, Catherine Keener, Charlie Kaufman, comedy-drama, horror, Michel Gondry, Michelle Williams, New York, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Synecdoche, terrible titles

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