Feature

Synecdoche, New York

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a theater director who embarks on a monumental production: To build a replica of his life, line by line, actor by actor, until fact and fiction blurs.

Synecdoche, New York
Directed by Charlie Kaufman
(R)

**

A neurotic playwright tries to create a replica of his life.

Synecdoche “strives to be a work of greatness,” said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.com, but the effort shows. Charlie Kaufman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, makes his directorial debut. Yet he “can’t get away from being the little man inside working the gears” and let the actors carry the show. The film introduces us to a theater director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who embarks on a monumental production: To build a replica of his life, line by line, actor by actor, until fact and fiction blurs. As always, Kaufman aims for the poetic and profound, but too often his film congratulates itself for being “so technically elaborate and emotionally ambitious.” Kaufman freely plays with time, space, and narrative, said Todd McCarthy in Variety. But his “structural trickery” makes it difficult to sort out his big themes of “life-versus-art, life-as-art, or art-instead-of-life.” Kaufman has crammed “enough poetry for several great movies” into Synecdoche, said David Edelstein in New York. As puzzling as it can be, best just to “go with the free-associational flow” of it all.

Recommended

The daily gossip: February 6, 2023
Harry Styles
Daily gossip

The daily gossip: February 6, 2023

Julia May Jonas recommends 6 captivating reads
Julia May Jonas.
Feature

Julia May Jonas recommends 6 captivating reads

Beyoncé just broke the record for most Grammy wins ever
Beyoncé accepting her Grammy Award.
well deserved

Beyoncé just broke the record for most Grammy wins ever

Viola Davis becomes an EGOT after winning Grammy
Viola Davis accepts her Grammy Award.
welcome to the club

Viola Davis becomes an EGOT after winning Grammy

Most Popular

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean
A suspected Chinese spy balloon over Montana.
99 Red Balloons?

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean

New report describes numerous security breaches at the Supreme Court
Supreme Court building.
Problems with Justice

New report describes numerous security breaches at the Supreme Court

Yale honors Black girl who had the police called on her for spraying lanternflies
Spotted lanterflies
black girl magic

Yale honors Black girl who had the police called on her for spraying lanternflies