Metascore
90

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

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 217 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Smart people will relish its temerariousness, average people will smile awkwardly and comment that it's "kinda different," and dimly lit people may mistake it for the Elmo movie and drool quietly in the back rows. It's a movie for everyone.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    100
    But then Being John Malkovich is a brilliant juggling act, too, brilliantly brought off.
  3. 100
    Either Being John Malkovich gets nominated for best picture, or the members of the Academy need portals into their brains.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    Weird, beguiling premise.
  5. So jaw-droppingly out there, so bracingly bizarre, and, much of the time, so fall-over-funny that even its flaws don't matter. Easily the oddest movie of the year, it is also one of the best.
  6. 80
    The most offbeat studio comedy since "Rushmore."
  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: 52 out of 61
  2. Negative: 6 out of 61
  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, 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. Sep 27, 2014
    10
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Expand
  3. ErikH.
    May 12, 2006
    10
    An entirely unique concept brought together by solid performance (particularly Diaz, Cusak, and Malkovich). A rare film treat that provides both laughs and contemplation. It doesn't have the traditional "happy ending" many viewers demand, but neither did "Hamlet" and I hear that got decent reviews. Expand
  4. Jul 10, 2014
    10
    Being John Malkovich is has great acting and a cool concept. A puppeteer discovers a portal into the
    mind of John Malkovich. John Malkovich
    is in the movie, he plays himself and he gives many
    funny lines throughout the movie. This movie is one of the most original and visually diverse movies
    you'll ever see. The twist in the movie is funny and the movie will never be duplicated, A+.
    Expand
  5. 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 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
  6. Aug 27, 2014
    9
    Malkovich Malkovich, Malkovich? Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich, Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich. Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich, Malkovich! (Genius!) Expand
  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 characteristics whatsoever. Expand

See all 61 User Reviews

Trailers

Related Articles

  1. Ranked: Best and Worst Directorial Debuts Since 1990

    Ranked: Best and Worst Directorial Debuts Since 1990 Image
    Published: August 4, 2011
    A pair of new films from first-time directors, "Attack the Block" and "Bellflower," are receiving strong reviews. Where do they rank among the best and worst directorial debuts in recent years? Find out inside.
  2. Ranked: Music Video Directors Turned Film Directors

    Ranked: Music Video Directors Turned Film Directors Image
    Published: August 31, 2010
    Before Anton Corbijn was directing feature films like this week's "The American," he was the driving force behind iconic music videos for Depeche Mode, U2, and Nirvana. Inside, we look at the careers of Corbijn and over 20 other directors who have made the jump from MTV to the big screen.