Being John Malkovich


Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. A wildly inventive, unrelenting thrill that amazes us with its visual and intellectual treats and dazzles us with its ongoing ingenuity.
  2. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    This smart, fanciful and brilliantly staged comedy takes a truly one-of-a-kind premise and makes it, of all things, a weirdly profound meditation on consciousness, identity, fame, gender and reality.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    But then Being John Malkovich is a brilliant juggling act, too, brilliantly brought off.
  4. It's among the most inventive, screwily funny and consistently surprising movies I've seen in years.
  5. This outrageous comic fantasy may not sustain its brilliance throughout all of its 112 minutes, but it keeps cooking for so much of that time that I don't have many complaints.
  6. 100
    Either Being John Malkovich gets nominated for best picture, or the members of the Academy need portals into their brains.
  7. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Weird to the max, smart, sneaky as a Wall Street pickpocket and revved up with cruel wit and brazen imagination, Being John Malkovich is a dark movie comedy that you couldn't forget if you tried.
  8. (Jonze and Kaufman's) work is so bold, funny, and original that it's hard to believe they aren't wide-screen veterans.
  9. 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.
  10. The most excitingly original movie of the year.
  11. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    Absolutely, see the movie.
  12. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Breathlessly imaginative.
  13. 100
    If we're allowed just a couple of truly singular discoveries in twelve months, it's a good year; when one of them is a film as exhilarating as Spike Jonze's feature debut, it's a banner year.
  14. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    Surreal to the point of poeticism, amusing and tragic by turns.
  15. 90
    It's a cheerfully deranged stunt, executed in a spirit of infectious lunacy that powers the resulting film to its strongest laughs, and weirdest depths.
  16. A clever and outrageous piece of whimsical fantasy that is unique, unpredictable and more than a little strange.
  17. 75
    This is the most impressive directorial debut since"Reservoir Dogs." Being John Malkovich is weird, all right-- the best kind of weird, the kind you haven't seen before.
  18. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    An ingenious, incredibly entertaining, Rorschach-blot meta-comedy based on a spec script (by first-timer Charlie Kaufman) that is completely unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.
  19. Gloriously inventive, delightfully nutty comic treasure is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's lunatic.
  20. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Being John Malkovich, which contains not a frame of extraneous footage, is more than a must-see movie: It's a must-see-more-than-once event.
  21. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    I don't know how a movie this original got made today, but thank God for wonderful aberrations.
  22. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    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.
  23. Rolling Stone
    Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    The crazy-ass imagination at work in Being John Malkovich hits you like a blast of pure oxygen...this movie of constant astonishments will make you laugh hard and long.
  24. 80
    It's a gleeful, nitrous-oxide high.
  25. It's tremendously entertaining, and probably worthy of repeat viewings.
  26. It's the film we leave most movie theaters wishing we'd seen instead.
  27. It's essentially a one-joke situation, but screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and first-time director Spike Jonze definitely make the most of it.
  28. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Everything I've ever dreamed of in a crazy comedy. It's close to pure farce, yet its laughs are grounded in loneliness, impotence, self-loathing, and that most discomfiting of vices to dramatize: envy. The action is surreal, the emotions are violently real.
  29. 100
    Irresistable, nimble and very funny.
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Weird, beguiling premise.
  31. TNT RoughCut
    Reviewed by: Christopher Brandon
    Unfortunately, no awards committee is hip enough to praise this strange masterpiece.
  32. Bizarre, utterly original and truly indescribable comedy...You just have to see it for yourself.
  33. USA Today
    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.
  34. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Devilishly inventive and so far out there it's almost off the scale.
  35. 80
    The most offbeat studio comedy since "Rushmore."
  36. So full of creativity, so subversive, so alive.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 436 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 56
  2. Negative: 7 out of 56
  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, 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. Full Review »
  2. Nov 22, 2012
    One of the most bizarre and brilliant movies ever.
  3. Jul 10, 2014
    Being John Malkovich is has great acting and a cool concept. A puppeteer discovers a portal into the
    mind of John Malkovich. John Malkovich
    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+.
    Full Review »