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Navigating Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Synecdoche, New York’
Is Kaufman's directoral debut too cerebral for its own good, or the best movie of the year?
 

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, is a real “loop-de-loop thrill ride” said Scott Foundas in The Village Voice. His screenplays for Adaptation and Being John Malkovich were quirky, to say the least. But this film (click here for Sony Pictures Classics’ trailer via YouTube) about a theater director obsessed with his own mortality is “Kaufman at 200 proof, with no Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry to serve as a sieve for the fulminations of his hyperactive imagination.”

Synecdoche, New York “cannot be diagrammed,” said David Edelstein in New York magazine online, and it’s likely to leave you in a state of “spatial-temporal bewilderment.” But the “best thing to do” with this “tome poem” about a “life barely lived” is to “get over it and go with the free-associational flow.”

You'll be glad you did, said Alonso Duralde in MSNBC.com. This “little gem” is “intimate and epic, cerebral and emotional.” Not to mention “funny, moving, perplexing, thought-provoking, poignant and powerful.” It’s also “the best American film of 2008 to date, and probably of 2007 and 2006 as well.”

 

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