Film Review


Synecdoche, New York is Charlie Kaufman’s madness. This is his directorial debut, and unlike his other scripts (which have been directed by the likes of George Clooney, Michel Gondry, and Spike Jonze), you can tell that this is the way he truly wanted his words translated.

Synecdoche, follows small-time theatre director Caden Cotard, who is brilliantly brought to life by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who goes through what is seemingly the early stages of a dementia-infused disease. After experiencing a few life-altering curveballs, receives a grant to produce the play he’s always dreamed of directing. Unfortunately, with the large sum he is garnered, and the increasingly affecting dementia, Cotard unknowingly spends his life trying to produce this play.

Superbly cast, and a well-written script by Kaufman as usual, this movie is not for the faint of heart. Its main themes are loss, loneliness, and despair.  But another common theme is that of creation. Not necessarily the success of a creation, but the attempt. Cotard has a fundamental problem with the women he’s with and with the ideas he tries to put in his play. He always wants more; what he can’t have. This is a very frustrating but realistic notion that the audience is forced to deal with.

After watching a National Film and Television School (NFTS) Script Masterclass with Charlie Kaufman, I was able to finally understand why his scripts are so soundly unsound. He explains that Synecdoche is really a story about the interchangeability of human experience. You’ll understand when you see it. Which you absolutely have to.



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