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67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 188 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. His life catering to suburban blue-hairs at the local regional theater in Schenectady, New York is looking bleak. His wife Adele has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter Olive with her. His therapist,Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. His life catering to suburban blue-hairs at the local regional theater in Schenectady, New York is looking bleak. His wife Adele has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter Olive with her. His therapist, Madeleine Gravis, is better at plugging her best-seller than she is at counseling him. A new relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel has prematurely run aground. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his autonomic functions, one by one. Worried about the transience of his life, he leaves his home behind. He gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in New York City, hoping to create a work of brutal honesty. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a growing mockup of the city outside. (Sony Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 34
  2. Negative: 2 out of 34
  1. 100
    I think you have to see Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York twice. I watched it the first time and knew it was a great film and that I had not mastered it. The second time because I needed to. The third time because I will want to.
  2. To say that Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York is one of the best films of the year or even one closest to my heart is such a pathetic response to its soaring ambition that I might as well pack it in right now.
  3. 88
    It's got more imagination than half a dozen movies combined; there's nothing else out there like this, and to me that's a very good thing.
  4. Sprawling, awe-inspiring, heartbreaking, frustrating, hard-to-follow and achingly, achingly sad movie.
  5. Hoffman, Morton and Jon Brion's aching score somehow capture the all-too-human need to get things right. If you're in a certain frame of mind, those moments make up for all the stagecraft.
  6. 50
    As the movie rambles along with its own brand of quasi-magical surrealism, the links to real experience grow scarcer and more frayed.
  7. I gave up making heads or tails of Synecdoche, New York, but I did get one message: The compulsion to stand outside of one's life and observe it to THIS degree isn't the mechanism of art -- it's the structure of psychosis.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 76
  2. Negative: 22 out of 76
  1. NicholasC.
    Apr 14, 2009
    10
    One of the best American movies of the modern era. I can only assume that the people who disliked this film either 1) didn't understand One of the best American movies of the modern era. I can only assume that the people who disliked this film either 1) didn't understand it, 2) felt condescended towards by it, 3) are unwilling to believe in the futility and meaninglessness of their own lives, or 4) aren't interested in or able to engage in deep analytical thought. There is so much to this film that it's like a classic painting, you can view it again and again and see something else each time. Every single line has meaning, every point is made for a reason. I didn't think that Charlie Kaufman would be able to top all of his other films at once and I was wary about his directorial debut, but there is enough genius in this film for five directors (or 1000 Michael Bays) and an entire lifetime. To those who don't see it, I say: check back in 15 or 20 years, and you might actually see what you've been missing. Indeed, I think the entire point of the film is exactly how much time and effort we waste in a failed trajectory that eventually turns to regret and dulled sensation. Open your eyes, and watch this movie. Expand
  2. NeilL
    Mar 25, 2009
    10
    Excellent. In certain respects much like Lynch's "Inland Empire", but from a very different perspective of course. Similarly misunderstood, too.
  3. Nov 17, 2010
    10
    Beautifully complex. You'll catch something new each time you watch it. Charlie Kaufman cements himself as the best screenwriter out there.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. Collapse
  4. JayK
    Nov 16, 2008
    9
    It's too bad more people won't appreciate this exceptional movie. Completely unique, very ambitious, and totally successful, in my It's too bad more people won't appreciate this exceptional movie. Completely unique, very ambitious, and totally successful, in my opinion. Clever script, great acting, moving execution. Charlie Kaufman shows again that he's a genius. Expand
  5. Oct 17, 2011
    6
    I felt Synecdoche, New York was an unrealised masterpiece. The film's themes and characters came together in a powerful and moving way towardI 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.
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  6. JayH
    Mar 12, 2009
    3
    I just deplore these pretentious artsy-fartsy movies. The cast seems to be sleepwalking through this one, even Philip Seymour Hoffman is I just deplore these pretentious artsy-fartsy movies. The cast seems to be sleepwalking through this one, even Philip Seymour Hoffman is boring. Way overlong, the scattered story is poorly developed. Rubbish. I am not at all a fan of Charlie Kaufman. Expand
  7. TerenceS.
    Nov 21, 2008
    0
    This movie is one of the worst shows that I have ever seen. Even in most horrible movies there's an element of camp. This has none. This movie is one of the worst shows that I have ever seen. Even in most horrible movies there's an element of camp. This has none. Don't bother with trying to find a point to it, I'll save you a trip, it has no point. Metacritic, you really let me down on this one. The movie itself is just a thrown together bundle of crap, that is probably just Kaufman expressing all of his own fears. I can only think of one reason Kaufman decided to direct it himself. Every self respecting director probably looked at the script and said, "There is no way I can make a movie out of this." Kaufman tries to combine elements of Jungian concepts, borrows imagry from an over used Shakespearian expression, and the movie suffers from Kaufman's own now over inflated ego. Expand

See all 76 User Reviews

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