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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 185 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, 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: 47 out of 74
  2. Negative: 21 out of 74
  1. gregoryl
    Apr 12, 2009
    A curveball of a movie, its' awkward relevance crept into my own perception of reality, and the outcome of the film paralleled with our own indecipherable truth and meaning for existence. We're not supposed to understand the symbolism, we're only meant to interpret it, much like the signs we see in our daily lives. The film was a stark transposition of reality onto screenplay and warrants a second and third viewing. Expand
  2. NeilL
    Mar 25, 2009
    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
    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. Expand
  4. JayK
    Nov 16, 2008
    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
    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.
  6. asmith
    Nov 22, 2008
    Circuitous, self indulgent, melodramatic masturbation. A loosely stung together, incoherent narrative. Rather than admit that they can't quite put it together, people just pretend that it's profound. Expand
  7. TerenceS.
    Nov 21, 2008
    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 74 User Reviews