User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 185 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 33 out of 185

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  1. Nov 17, 2010
    Beautifully complex. You'll catch something new each time you watch it. Charlie Kaufman cements himself as the best screenwriter out there. Best movie of the decade and one of the best of all times.
  2. Feb 7, 2012
    This is a film I could watch over and over again and see something new each time. The film is so complex and masterfully built but it is also intimate and touching. Synechdoche new york is one of the only films I cry during every time I see it. However the film is not depressing it is sad, but at the heart of the story there is also lots of comedy. Overall the film works on every level imaginable and it is one of the best movies of all time Expand
  3. Nov 29, 2013
    This is one of those movies that will make you rethink your whole life. It also has a lot of room for interpretation, which is something I find fascinating in movies and always will.
  4. Aug 16, 2010
    Very, very polarizing. There are parts of this film that are simply extravagant, then there are parts that are quite tedious and poorly represented. I found this movie about life and time more boring and rambling than anything, but there's so much great poetry within its message, that it's hard for me to completely dismiss it. This film feels more like a dream of random thoughts and events, and needed to be redone into something more sturdy and comprehensible, rather than just messing with everyone's minds with its sadist vision. Expand
  5. Jul 27, 2013
    i gave up the third time a character in this film discussed the colour of excrement. I think it sums it up as scatological gibberish. It may well be one of the best american independent movies but that says more about the state of US cinema than it does about this tedious self-indulgent nonsense. Hard to say what's more depressing the film itself or the amount of time, talent and money wasted on making it. Expand
  6. Oct 17, 2011
    I felt Synecdoche, New York was an unrealised masterpiece. The film's themes and characters came together in a powerful and moving way toward the end of the film, and there were a number of great moments. However, for every great scene, there were poorly executed and drawing-out ones. Much of the film was pretty average.

    The film's themes ended well, but were a mess for the most part.
    The themes of tragedy, depression, sickness, and aging are relevant, but in the film are often excessive, and unnecessarily unpleasant. The many crude bathroom scenes, for example, do not contribute to these themes in a meaningful way.

    I generally appreciate complex and surreal films, and I love some of Kaufman's other work. However, I felt this film was held together rather loosely. The surreal elements were creative, but felt just a bit out of place.

    In the end, the film came across to me as being a bit like a tattered gown of former extravagance. It was dotted with gems, but between the gems is a mess.
  7. Aug 27, 2010
    Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut is an sprawling look at the paradox of translating introversion into expression, and this is by no means an original notion - just look at 8 1/2, Adaptation (written by Kaufman), Barton Fink, Inland Empire etc. etc. (hell, it might as well be its own genre...) Naturally, the product being a jumbled mess just comes with the territory, but I feel that 'Synecdoche' especially lacks the cohesiveness to convey anything more than abstraction - and least of all does it try for profundity. Unfortunately, Kaufman's writing is completely to blame because everything else here is pitch perfect - the casting/acting, the set, the sound editing all complement the ideas and mood throughout the film. What Kaufman needs to learn is that not all ideas are good, and to stick so many of them all so heedlessly into a movie and try to legitimize doing so with the title 'Synecdoche' is an insult to the viewers. I'll just stick with 8 1/2, thank you. Expand
  8. Nov 3, 2010
    There is no doubt in my mind that Charlie Kaufman is indeed a genius. There is also little debate about the fact the this film is multidimensional, rich in context, meticulously crafted into a dreamlike nightmare. The cast is superb as well, however at times I felt lost and hard to comprehend the subliminal meaning of things like the significance of burning house, the Germanic accent of his daughter, etc... Expand
  9. Nov 12, 2010
    I have never seen a move have such divided opinion for a film (Most of the major critics loved it, however.), perhaps not seen since the discussion of the pub scene in Inglorious Basterds, or to a lesser degree the Nicholas Cage remake of Bad Lieutenant.. WalterEgo compared it unfavorably to BerlinAlex, but overreacted IMO, (Grade 2). nboley08 captured well the strengths and weaknesses. (Grade 5)
    Others claimed if you don't like it, go see an Adam Sandler film.
    I have to side on the positive; for some reason I'm obssessed with it.
    It falls under the category of a flawed masterwork (like Miles Davis' **** Brew), and could have been tightened up some, but smoothing out the warts from such an utterance is usually a mistake.
    And yet, Apocalypse Now and Citizens Kane were also called flawed.
  10. Oct 14, 2011
    kaufman's best. in my opinion, it is movies like this one that separate the truly thoughtful people from those who watch more sophisticated movies only to appear "hip" or because they are genuinely convinced that alternative is the way to go - but not because of a reasonable conclusion but because they treat it as a trend like any other.
    i don't think this movie needs more words than
    these. it is a truly artistic, perfect masterpiece. i think i kept noticing new things up until i viewed it for the fourth time. and the memorable words spoken that apply so often in everyday life but simply might not have come to your mind are many. Expand
  11. Oct 5, 2011
    If I could, I would give this film a 15. It works, it just works so intensly. The only film that made me cry, ever. The best thing about it, you can watch it over and over again, and you will always discover something new - not just about the movie, but about your self. Unless of course you are a little bit hollow inside, then it most likely will not work.
  12. Mar 24, 2013
    Charlie Kaufman makes his directorial debut in what can only be described as the most bizarrely brilliant but depressingly modernistic film to grace your eyes in many MANY years.
    Synecdoche, New York tells the story of depressed and down on his luck Caden (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a theatre director who sees no motive or starting point in his life, his wife, Adele (Catherine Keener) is an
    artist and receives the opportunity to go to Berlin to pursue her artistic ambition, this would also involve leaving Caden and taking their daughter Olive with her.
    Caden receives a surprise McArthur grant to pursue his interest in what he sees fit. He decides to put on a massive play which he wants to throw his honesty and life into, but at the same time he is also dealing with his ailing body and spontaneous bouts of illness.
    His project can only be described as epic, using a huge warehouse to recreate New York itself, taking in actors to portray everyday people, including himself, which in turn creates a film that is never truly sure as to what is the true world or the dream that Caden has created.
    The film itself is simply art, a non-linear story with fast forward in time points that will leave you confused, yet in awe as to the spectacle and nerve of director and writer Kaufman. It is true that you will never know exactly what is going on, with a very unorthodox story that will leave people hating this film, but those ones will ultimately miss the message of this film.
    Dreams may indeed already be our reality, that life is so short that no matter what situation you are in, go for gold and don't look back, as you watch this wonderful film you will be left dumfounded as to what you are witnessing, but also appreciative of the art at play here.
    As mentioned, the film jumps time considerably, at some points you might not even notice, actually scratch that, you simply won't notice, as Caden himself doesn't even notice.
    Hoffman puts in an unforgettable and commanding performance as Caden, someone who does grab his dream when the opportunity arose, yet was always struggling with his past life, a fitting message that will stand the test of time.
    Each time you watch this something different will catch your eye, something on the wall, a character or whatever, it puts you in the spot of analysing your own life and deciding what to do with it, but also to confront or make peace with your demons head on.
    Not only one of the best films of the decade, but one of the greatest and most relevant pieces or art to ever grace your eyes.
  13. Jan 18, 2013
    The movie lost me at the end of the first hour. And I couldn't care less about that! I simply relaxed and let the plot, the haunting but sad characters, the over-complicated narrative to lead me. Accompanied by wonderful but sad score, ever confusing dialogue, non-coherent gorgeous cinematic sequences and over the top performance by the daring P.S. Hoffman, at times you may be able to make the ends meet, but that's so unnecessary. I don't need to "understand" this film. I feel it. The movie refuses to offer you consistency and dramatic coherence. Yes, you are free to build it your self but that's also unnecessary. Kaufman's messy directorial debut is definitely not the work of genius, that's for sure. Even better, it is the work of rare surrealist and storyteller. In a world in which Lynch refuses to make another film (for now), Synecdoche is a welcoming work that will surely satisfy your appetite for deeply emotional nothingness. Expand
  14. Nov 9, 2012
    I love Philip Seymour Hoffman. That being said, this is long and confusing. It is a convoluted cluster-f**k of overly-ambitious ideas and poor directing. The plot of this...this...thing is the equivalent to the nonsensical ramblings that spill from a homeless man's mouth as he succumbs to dementia on the street corner. In short, Synecdoche, New York is a frustrating waste of time.
  15. Aug 28, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. By far one of the greatest artistic achievements of all time. Kaufman pushed the limit on defining truth, what art's role is in portraying truth, and ultimately how this toil affects human existence. Expand
  16. Feb 2, 2014
    This film polarises people. I consider it a truly great movie. It is magnificently intelligent, subtle, amusing, absurd, and poignant, all at the same time. It has something of the character of a dream, with great, rich imagery and symbolism, a sparse poetry of language, and a delightful sense of the absurd, and absurd extrapolation of ideas. I loved it from the very opening scene, and have seen it a number of times.

    If you did not like it the first time you saw it, try to go back to it with an open mind. I doubt that you will regret it.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 34
  2. Negative: 2 out of 34
  1. Synecdoche is the kind of movie that rewards repeated viewings. But sometimes, as Van Morrison sings, it's just best to "sail into the mystic."
  2. 75
    You have never seen a movie quite like this one.
  3. 50
    As the movie rambles along with its own brand of quasi-magical surrealism, the links to real experience grow scarcer and more frayed.