zaydaze’s review published on Letterboxd:
Wow, I did not like this film. What a convoluted mess. Kaufman attempting to juggle too many ideas gives us an absurd, depressing, and self-indulgent disaster. No disrespect to anyone who enjoyed this film.
I try and find the redeeming things in a film, whether it’s an actor’s performance, a particular scene, composition, or camera techniques. However, as much as I enjoyed Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance (God rest his soul), and Jon Brion’s score, they both couldn’t save this film. That’s not for a lack of trying either! There were moments where I could sense a genuine heartfelt performance attempting to break through the trappings of the characters, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. None of the emotion or interactions mean anything because were not made to care about the characters. It’s meaningless.
I liked the themes of this film, but I hate how they were presented. I hated how Kaufman never allowed any of the women in this film to be anything more than one dimensional either. The part that infuriates me the most is that most of the failures of the film seem so intentional. The meta-ness of the world Caden created to work out his problems and have some sense of control inhibits any character from becoming fully realized.