Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York ★★★★½

A theater director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) veging towards a diseased and unbecoming death embarks on a surreal odyssey to capture his true self and authentic life experience in a play, recasting himself, his lovers, his wife and his alternate personas over and over again in a metaphor for the deep narcissism of being and the monuments we build to ourselves in life. One of the last lines he utters is "no one ever saw us" because the play never opens, no one ever knows you and none of the monumental self-examination, introspection or transformations of your inner life matter in the end, when all is obliterated. Heavy-handed, hammy and often trite, but simultaneously evocative of the true melancholy and despair of our inner lives and our struggles with mortality, this is one of my favorite film experiences. Easily my favorite Charlie Kaufman creation (the rest are a mixed bag, imo). It's not for everyone, but if navel-gazing psychoanalytical bullshit is your thing, you'll like it.