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Being John Malkovich is both funny and smart, featuring a highly original script.
Being John Malkovich is both funny and smart, featuring a highly original script.
All Critics (127)
| Top Critics (28)
| Fresh (118)
| Rotten (9)
| DVD (15)
Fabulously funny and delightfully disturbed, "Being John Malkovich'' is the ultimate voyeur movie, a dark and at times malevolent take on what it's like to be in someone else's skull, looking out.
Devilishly inventive and so far out there it's almost off the scale.
This outrageous comic fantasy may not sustain its brilliance throughout its 112 minutes, but it keeps cooking for so much of that time that I don't have many complaints.
By the time the tunnel worthy of the likes of Gulliver and Alice becomes a freeway clogged with bit players, a big chill has descended on all the characters.
It is hard to mix moods -- the film is manic, subtle, comic and vaguely sad -- but [Jonze] does it masterfully.
It's clever, witty, dark and, most importantly, unwaveringly bizarre.
The beauty of the film is the way it elevates John Malkovich from an actor to an axiom.
It's a film, indeed, of such jaw-dropping originality that its flaws -- and it definitely has some -- count for far less than they otherwise would.
Though Being John Malkovich was deliciously original and delivers an underrated performance by John Cusack, the ending was a bit disappointing.
There's something fantastically proto-Internet about this romantic-dramedy of flop-sweat desperation, role-playing, simulation and eccentric, niche-culture behaviour-a world of virtual-reality escapes, alter egos, sexual fetishes and rabbit-hole trips.
an essential existentialist text.
An incredibly rich and entertaining (not to say, laudably malevolent) film that far transcends its already way-out title premise ...
A strange, existential, and ultimately disconcerting film that just gets weirder and weirder. Major points for Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman for originality, but the film's atmosphere and mood are just so dismal. The film is almost saved by Malkovich's performance in second half, but the film remains too drab to provide enough reason to love it. A lot of originality and uniqueness (as well as strangeness) to offer, but not enough entertainment value. There is no comfortable balance between the two.
Spike Jonze's wittily-written, incredibly acted comedy drama about a disgruntled but ambitious puppeteer who to his amazement finds a peculiar, mystical portal into the mind of John Malkovich, is a brilliantly surreal and mind boggling experience. It's profoundly original dream-like narrative exploring humanities selfishness and one's desire to be something else makes it consitently entertaining and builds up to an utterly unforgettable cinematic experience. Charlie Kaufman's clever yet non self-indulgent script creates some very awkward but hilarious situations for the characters and flawlessly disguises the insane fableness and fantasy of the story and it's characters infinitely believable. He went on to work with director Michel Gondry and wrote his masterpiece; Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, which I think is one of the best films ever made. He is arguably one of the most talneted art-house writers out there today and although he makes very few films the one's that he does work on are always brilliant. In the interesting case of Being John Malkovich, performance-wise it is perfect, Cameron Diaz and John Cusack advertise some fantastic chemistry, but the greatest stand-out is easily John Malkovich who is just perfect and undeniably engaging at being/playing John Malkovich. Catherine Keener is also great as the bitterly inhuman anti-hero, and Jonze's outstanding direction nails the film as a landmark. I think it's one of the best directorial debuts of all time, and if your not laughing at it, or being moved by it, you'll certainly be admiring it. It's a strange and emotionally detatching screen presence but in my opinion it's one of the best of it's kind. Endlessly fascinating and completely extraordinary.
Lotte Schwartz: I think it's kinda sexy that John Malkovich has a portal, y'know, sort of like, it's like, like he has a vagina. It's sort of vaginal, y'know, like he has a, he has a penis AND a vagina. I mean, it's sort of like... Malkovich's... feminine side. I like that.
"Ever want to be someone else? Now you can."
Charlie Kauffman's and Spike Jonze's first team up is a complete masterpiece. This is a movie unlike any you have ever seen and is only equaled in brilliance and originality by another film that was written by Kauffman, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. Being John Malkovich is a bizarre, eccentric, out in outer space film that is sure to turn some people off based purely on just how weird a film it is. For those who love bizarre, when it is genius, will love this one.
Craig Schwartz is a puppeteer, but there isn't much demand for his profession, so he has to take a job as a filer. While there, he finds a small door behind a filing cabinet and enters. Turns out that door is a portal into John Malkovich's mind. He teams up with a beautiful co-worker, who he is smitten for and starts selling trips into Malkovich's mind at $200 a pop. There's a lot of weirdness going on including a secretary that can't understand a word anyone says, an office on the 7 1/2 floor that is half the height of a normal floor, and a love... square.
Describing a film like Being John Malkovich is a hard thing to do. People who love, don't see it as just a weird movie, while people who hate it see it only as that. With all the weird stuff that is going on in Kauffman's screenplay, there is just as much intelligent stuff going on. Most of it is the same. There's something altogether brilliant about every single thing going on here. From looking into the mind of a chimp to having a setting placed on a floor that isn't really a floor to Keener's character being in love with Diaz's because she senses Diaz's presence in Malkovich's when they make love. You can't help but just be swept up by it all. Or at least I can't.
If you're familiar with Kauffman's and Jonze's other works, you know that both of them are in love with the bizarre. So when they get together for movies like this and like Adaption, the end result is no less than warped, but also no less than amazing.
If you want to watch something truly original in just about every facet; this is a must watch. If you don't like movies that are trying to do something outside of the routine, boring movies that are mass made each year, don't watch it. For those who can accept the films eccentricity, you'll find a movie that is made with pure imagination and love. Being John Malkovich is easily one of my favorite movies of all-time. I could watch it a thousand times and still love every single moment of it.
Be All That Someone Else Can Be
Excellent FIlm! I enjoyed it alot! Great acting and storyline, funny, clever and insane film. Don't worry if this all sounds a little strange to you, it should do, it's probably the most surreal film ever made. Go see it!
Craig, a puppeteer, takes a filing job in a low-ceilinged office in Manhattan. Although married to the slightly askew Lotte, he hits on a colleague, the sexually frank Maxine. She's bored but snaps awake when he finds a portal leading inside John Malkovich: for 15 minutes you see, hear, and feel whatever JM is doing, then you fall out by the New Jersey Turnpike. Maxine makes it commercial, selling trips for $200; also, she's more interested in Lotte than in Craig, but only when Lotte is inside JM. JM finds out what's going on and tries to stop it, but Craig sees the portal as his road to Maxine and to success as a puppeteer. Meanwhile, Lotte discovers others interested in the portal.
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