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

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Universal acclaim- based on 175 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.
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
    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
    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
    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 51
  2. Negative: 6 out of 51
  1. Feb 8, 2012
    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. Jul 1, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Being John Malkovich is a superb comedy-drama with John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and John Malkovich. The movie focuses on a struggling puppeteer played by Cusack. He performs his puppet show in the streets for donations from the public. One day Craig goes for a job interview at J.M. Inc. a company that is seeking new filers. They hire him and he becomes fixated on a girl who works with him on the 7 and a half floor. One day while putting a file away Craig drops the file behind a filing cabinet. Craig then discovers a secret tunnel hidden behind a small door. The tunnel is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich the actor. Craig and Maxine his colleague, concoct a scheme to exploit the portal to their advantage. They start charging 200 dollars per person to enter the portal. People begin showing up to see what it's like to be John Malkovich.
    The movie is hilarious and utterly brilliant with the concept of someone having a portal into their mind. Spike Jonze is a talented director and he wasn't honoured properly for this movie. He directed the recent "Her"
    and he was shafted for the best picture for the movie. The actors were also snubbed for their roles. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson are brilliant in Her. I think Being John Malkovich should've won awards but it was overshadowed by American Beauty. Her should've won five to ten oscar awards but once again the movie that deserves many awards wins few.
  3. Jul 10, 2014
    Being John Malkovich is an amusing and clever comedy-drama. The movie has wonderful acting and is
    unlike any movie you've seen or will see.
    The directing is amazing as well and the movie has unpredictable
    surprises, Malkovich is definitely one of my favourite movies.
  4. Feb 9, 2012
    Watched this movie again last night after not seeing it for years. It really is a fantastic film. Charlie Kauffman never fails to come up with bizarre and intriguing scripts, and Spike Jonze is also on his A-game. This movie starts off on a strange note, and it continues to spiral into a twilight zone of hilarious proportions. I don't even like Cameron Diaz, but I thought she was very good in her role, and I loved the rest of the cast as well. If you are looking for a film that is unlike any other film you have ever seen, or ever will see, then this film matches that criteria. It's a lot of fun, but also has some interesting things to say about real life issues. Expand
  5. Aug 7, 2013
    "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.
  6. Jun 10, 2011
    I am a little confused about this movie. And frankly speaking before I read other comments, I can not understand this movie. But to some extent, I think it is a good movie but not perfect one. Expand
  7. Aug 2, 2011
    Absolutely awful in every way, shape and form. No likable characters, a scatterbrained story, and just mean-spirited. Avoid at all costs. Please, for your own sake, avoid this movie! Expand

See all 51 User Reviews

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