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Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 263 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: An out-of-work puppeteer takes a filing clerk job on the cramped 7 ½ floor of an office building where he discovers a hidden tunnel allowing him to enter the mind and life of actor John Malkovich for 15 mintues before being ejected onto the New Jersey Turnpike.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    100
    Breathlessly imaginative.
  2. The most excitingly original movie of the year.
  3. Gloriously inventive, delightfully nutty comic treasure is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's lunatic.
  4. A clever and outrageous piece of whimsical fantasy that is unique, unpredictable and more than a little strange.
  5. It's among the most inventive, screwily funny and consistently surprising movies I've seen in years.
  6. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    80
    Surreal to the point of poeticism, amusing and tragic by turns.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    The story keeps reinventing itself (some of the later plot twists are among the funniest), but a little goes a long way at 112 minutes - maybe 25 minutes more than this sporadically pointed conceit really needs.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 52
  2. Negative: 7 out of 52
  1. Feb 8, 2012
    10
    Being John Malkovich really is a film like no other. Director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman's vision for the film is so complete, soBeing John Malkovich really is a film like no other. Director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman's vision for the film is so complete, so unique and off-the-wall, it makes for an utterly spellbinding viewing experience. The performances are all superb, and many a far cry from the respective cast member's usual roles.John Cusack makes a very engaging, if highly unlikeable protagonist as Craig Schwatz, an ambitious but morally bereft puppeteer, who finds a mysterious portal into the head of John Malkovich. Malkovich, quite amusingly, gives one of the best performances of his career, playing a parody of himself, who is unwittingly used by a whole host of people for entertainment, entrepreneurial ventures and for a far more sinister purpose. Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and Orson Bean are all excellent too as Craig's unfulfilled, animal-loving wife, his sexually deviant co-worker and his ancient and looney boss respectively. Being John Malkovich delivers on all fronts, from the cast playing a weird and wonderful array of characters to Spike Jonze's tight and controlled direction, Lance Acord's cinematography perfectly capturing the simple, yet effective visuals, Carter Burwell's fantastic score and especially Charlie Kaufman's slick, sharp and side-splittingly funny script. It's surreal, dark, well-written and simply hilarious. It's also superbly odd, bordering on lunacy, but in a good way. There's nothing else like it, and there likely never will be. By the end of Being John Malkovich, you've certainly been on a journey - you're not certain where you've been, or what it all means, but by God you had a good time. Expand
  2. EduardoS
    Oct 26, 2008
    10
    Funny and intelligent movie. One of the best I've seen in years.
  3. Dec 19, 2013
    10
    Without a doubt, one of the best films of the 1990s. Dark, hilarious, and brilliant. Spike Jonze gives us a mindbending science fiction darkWithout a doubt, one of the best films of the 1990s. Dark, hilarious, and brilliant. Spike Jonze gives us a mindbending science fiction dark comedy with top-notch performances from the entire cast. Expand
  4. FelixQ.
    Jul 25, 2006
    9
    This is a modern day classic. You have to be a certain type of person to enjoy the humor, and if you are you do so immensely. If this kind of This is a modern day classic. You have to be a certain type of person to enjoy the humor, and if you are you do so immensely. If this kind of comedy had been applied to a slightly more controlled plot or concept, it would've belly flopped. Instead, it takes an idea that's just so far out there and laughable, combines it with characters that are all completely unaware of their own short-comings and moronity, and pretends that it's a serious film. With all the irony flying around in this movie, it HAS to pretend to take itself seriously- as seriously as the characters take themselves. I think where this movie lost that final point for me was in the tone. Yes, it needed to be dark to pull it off, and yes, the mundane nature of the characters' lives had to be reflected somehow in the film itself, but after a comedy so ludicrous and dark one has to be able to feel giddy, not slightly morbid. Too much Donnie Darko, not enough Everything is Illuminated. Expand
  5. Aug 7, 2013
    9
    "Being John Malkovich" must surely rank as one of the most inventive, original, and yet daring films of the last ten years. A metaphysical"Being John Malkovich" must surely rank as one of the most inventive, original, and yet daring films of the last ten years. A metaphysical journey about the desire to transform oneself involving identity, gender, and creativity. It's silly, unpredictable, and completely faithful to its distinctive, perverse vision. A brilliant premise written by the Charlie Kaufman, and masterfully directed by Spike Jonze. A truly an ingenious film and considered a modern day classic.

    Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is stuck in a frustrated rut in his life. His pet obsessed wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) seems more concerned with providing a decent home to various animals as opposed to satisfying his marriage needs. Also, money is drying up, Craig's dreams of becoming a world-famous puppeteer appear to be eroding, and he is pressured into finding a job. Because of his quick hands, a skill necessary for artful puppetry, Craig applies for a job as a filing clerk. His job requires him to work on the seventh and a half floor in a strange office block. His days are spent trying to persuade the object of his attention Maxine (Catherine Keener), into having an affair with him.

    While losing a file behind a storage cabinet one day, Craig discovers a strange and murky tunnel hidden behind the cabinet. Crawling inside, Craig finds the tunnel to actually be a portal, and the destination is inside the actor John Malkovich's head! Although Craig has no say with regards to Malkovich's actions, he can clearly witness and influence what the actor is doing. Fifteen minutes later, Craig is forced out of Malkovich's head, and dumped along side the New Jersey turnpike.

    Part of the pleasure in watching "John Malkovich" is seeing these actors at full creative throttle, and knowing how much they relished the insanity of the script. But it's clearly Malkovich who has the most fun here. Spoofing oneself is usually therapeutic, but for Malkovich whose reputation as an intellectual prima donna, must have been ecstatic at an incredibly unique opportunity.

    Without spoiling what follows, "Being John Malkovich" features a fine cast of dryly-comic actors who are very much in on the joke. That can even be said of Charlie Sheen, who turns up for some wicked self-parody in a film that also features cameo appearances by Sean Penn, Brad Pitt. "Being John Malkovich" doesn't bog down in allegories, while remaining tremendously entertaining and thought provoking, and definitely worthy of repeat viewings. Fantastic performances all around by the entire cast, but especially by Cusack and Malkovich. Nominated for three Academy Awards.
    Expand
  6. JacksonG.
    Jan 4, 2007
    8
    An amazing mind-trip.
  7. ChrisB.
    Feb 3, 2006
    0
    An appaling waste of time and talent. Shallow, unlikeable characters; unpleasant, jumbled cinematography, a shoddy script and no redeeming An appaling waste of time and talent. Shallow, unlikeable characters; unpleasant, jumbled cinematography, a shoddy script and no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Expand

See all 52 User Reviews

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