Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Everybody dies.

Well, almost everybody.

Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut is certainly a puzzling masterpiece. Its intricate looks at life and death itself, the metamorphoses of relationships, the very essence of human interaction- it's all so beautifully portrayed in this film.

Philip S. Hoffman plays Caden, a married man with a daughter. At the beginning of the film, he learns that his body is shutting itself down slowly for an unknown reason and, because he is an artist and theater director, sets out to produce one of the most ambitious productions imaginable: a nearly full-scale reproduction of New York City being used as a massive examination piece of social life. How each and every person in the world has their own, deep stories, and how those stories can be so intricately weaved together.

The film takes place over a few decades, and we are shown glimpses into major events in Caden's life as he continues his "magnum opus-" both his parents die, his daughter becomes a dancer, and even the actor he hired to play himself commits suicide, in an extreme case of method acting where he was replicating a past suicide attempt.

The film may have some very brief moments near the beginning that slightly drag, but that doesn't stop this from being an extraordinary experience. Hoffman gives the performance of a lifetime, and he is only greatly supported by the rest of the cast, including Michelle Williams and Tom Noonan, among many others. Overall, Kaufman's freshman piece is a massive, ambitious film that is truly a beauty to behold, and heartbreaking at its core.

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