Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York ★★★★★

"Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create."

Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut is a triumph in ways beyond comprehension. It is so deeply layered and complex that experiencing it is best described as two hours of existential pondering. Every image holds a larger philosophical and psychological meaning and the lines between reality, fiction, consciousness and subconsciousness are constantly being crossed. Kaufman has always pushed narrative boundaries with unique and perplexing stories, and here he takes his distinctive qualities to a whole new level. There is no plot, just cycles of conflicted metaphors, ideas and social viewpoints. He has made the sort of film that one can never fully understand, each viewing with reveal hidden depths.

The only problem I had with it was that it is so complex and experimental that at times it is hard to connect to. Kaufman's fascinations are with crippling-disillisionment, death, and decay, but he examines them in the most breathtaking and stimulating ways. With such an endlessly supply of moral and sociological excavating, it is only natural for your brain to overload a couple of times while viewing. All you can do is sit back and realize that understanding isn't the point, the point is to find something in this endless abyss of explorational meanings that affects you. On a filmmaking level, Kaufman has crafted beautiful expedition through pain, detachment, death, and love that has a unreachable scope that will enrapture you.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is Kaufman's muse and delivers a performance of absolute greatness. He plays Caden Cotard, a successful playwright who embarks on a journey to make an epic, all-encompassing play that challenges reality and explores every fiber of existence. As he delves deeper into his work, he creates something of a half-world that he is even more detached from than reality, taking the form of an ever-changing subconsciousness. Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Diane Wiest and Emily Watson play the woman of Caden's life who ultimately have the most integral roles in his existential development.

I didn't have as strong of a personal connection to this film as I did with Adaptation, but this is a film that amazed me and left my mind reeling. While watching it, the further you get in the more evident it becomes that you are watching something extraordinary. This is the kind of film that I yearn to be able to make, so utterly captivating. A rare viewing experience that achieves changing the perceptions of its viewers.