Synecdoche, New York

2008, Comedy/Drama, 2h 4m

194 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Charlie Kaufman's ambitious directorial debut occasionally strains to connect, but ultimately provides fascinating insight into a writer's mind. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Life is looking pretty bleak for theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). His wife and daughter have left him, his therapist is more interested in plugging her new book than helping him with his problems, and a strange disease is causing his body to shut down. Caden leaves his home in Schenectady, New York, and heads to New York City, where he gathers a cast of actors and tells them to live their lives within the constructs of a mock-up of the city.

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Critic Reviews for Synecdoche, New York

Audience Reviews for Synecdoche, New York

  • Oct 08, 2015
    Intentionally or no, this film is an entertaining and farcical trip. Synecdoche is mainly about finding out the truth about oneself by looking at one's relationships to other human beings. It is a romantic film, but in an amazingly absurd one at that. To enjoy this film, one has to be able to just go with everything that happens (all manner of weird and crazy things) and maybe make some sense out of it or not. (And for those that do like a challenge, there is plenty of brain candy strewn throughout the background of the film.) Synecdoche is reminiscent of Woody Allen films (as well as 8 1/2 and Barton Fink), though the energy level is higher: more manic and more depressive. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a great fit for the lead role with a performance that highly projective, the world is his shadow. The main character is honestly and apologetically imperfect (again, reminiscent of the Woody Allen characters, but also very different) and striving. It is hard to know who to recommend the film to since it is just a bit on the dark side. Those who love arthouse films will probably pick up on a lot that is in it, and enjoy it. But there is also plenty in there, plenty of drama and humor, for the casual viewer. Whether or not you enjoy it, may be highly dependent on whether or not you are in the mood for the experience.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2015
    A portentous, pretentious film that draws on Fellini's 8 1/2, Bergman and Woody Allen but never manages to become an original, coherent piece on its own. The work is so fragmented and delights so much in its own playful fragmentation that it becomes tedious in the end and whatever existential message it contains feels convoluted and shallow. Charlie Kaufman, who is famous for bringing post-modern sensibilities in screenwriting to Hollywood audiences, gives in under his own ambition here. The actors are doing some excellent work though and they are the only reason to see the film.
    George M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2014
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2012
    I waited four years to finally see this. It's a long time for a film I was really looking forward to when it was first announce. This isn't for everyone. It's a very, very complex screenplay with lots and lots of intricate elements and themes. This is a film that requires more than one viewing to get it all, if it's possible. The performances are amazing and Kauffman is as good a director as he is a writer. My first experience with this film is a successful one, the film moved me in unexpected ways. There would be a lot to say about it, but I don't know how to do it.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer

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