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R| 2 hr. 4 min.

Plot Summary
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.

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman , Samantha Morton , Michelle Williams , Catherine Keener , Emily Watson , Dianne Wiest , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Hope Davis

Director: Charlie Kaufman

Genres: Comedy drama

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Release Date: October 24th, 2008|2 hr. 4 min.

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critic reviews ( 3 )
fan reviews ( 14 )
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman creates a mesmerizing portrait of the artist as a young, old and middle-aged man. show more

  • The temptation to be emphatic about Synecdoche, New York is overwhelming but should be resisted, because the movie really is a mixed bag. A particularly odd mix. show more

  • The film disappoints terribly, too. The directorial debut of such an imaginative and clever screenwriter was a highly anticipated event. His "Being John Malkovich" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" are two of the most innovative and intriguing movies of the past decade. Synecdoche is one of the most maddening. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com
  • March 13, 2009 Anjrea
    Report This User

    I fully enjoyed this movie and I can't wait until I watch it again. It was one of the most amazing movies of the year and its too bad not everyone can feel the same way about it. Either you'll love this movie or not get it and hate it.

  • January 04, 2009 genesis104
    Report This User

    As you can see there is quite a stark contrast between what the "reviewers" think of this movie and what people in the "real world" think of this mess. Can I give it zero stars? I wanted to like this movie. Really, I did. The cast is first rate and it started out interestingly enough. But the movie decends into a muddled, meandering mess. And talk about depressing! The story within a story within a story is worthy of exploration but the use of symbolism and allegory to such an extreme, combined with the fact that the story (if you want to call it that) is VERY depressing and ultimately fruitless ---- well, I really wish I had that 2 plus hours back in my life. What a compete, utter, total waste of time. The fact that I'm even thinking about it now angers me but I figured if I can spare others from my misfortune, maybe some good has come out of it. How this movie even got made is a mystery for the ages.

  • January 03, 2009 mattsci
    Report This User

    I felt very fortunate to recently find myself with a free afternoon near an historic theater in Cambridge, MA that had a showing of Synecdoche, New York, directed by Charlie Kaufman, well known for his writing and production credits on films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich, among others, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, who needs no introduction as one of the great actors of our time. I had only heard of this “strange” film through word of mouth and decided to do something I rarely ever do: I read a full review by Roger Ebert before I saw the film. Maybe this isn’t alarming to some, to get an opinion or two before viewing a film, but I have always felt that seeing a movie and forming my own thoughts an important aspect to discovering what is and is not considered great to me. Now that I’ve admitted to hearing someone else’s opinion of this film, I’d like to say that I still don’t really know what to say. On the one hand, you have a film that has a plot and is not too difficult to follow. However, as you are watching and sort of understanding what is happening, you realize that you don’t quite get what is happening, and slowly you realize that you have no idea what is truly happening, even though you may think you think you know what may or may not be happening. Yes, I just wrote the above and I stand by it. Did I like this movie? Yes, I did. Can I explain why? I’m not sure. I think I said I like it because it feels very much like a real life in torment, and I am drawn to films that really attack human emotion and those that try to show through film ideas and notions that are nearly impossible to portray. But again, with that said, I’m not sure what to say about this “strange” film. I could try to explain the basic plot: Hoffman’s character has a crappy life and the movie takes us through his tormented mind as he lives life and uses his own career as a theatre director to attempt to make sense of his suffering , or to at least organize it into something manageable. However, I don’t know if that is the correct interpretation. I almost decided not to write anything and just let this film live in my mind as I viewed it, as a piece of art that I am not quite sure I enjoyed, but I know I did not dislike. I don’t mind “crazy” movies. They don’t bother me like they do some, as long as I am willing to take the time to try and dissect what I am seeing and hearing, it can’t all be bad. With this film I did feel like I was being asked to do a bit too much dissecting about the ¾ mark of the run time, though, and that did make me somewhat angry. Having characters playing characters who are watching themselves in a play as characters of their real selves is ok, I suppose, but then to make timelines incomprehensible and characters coming and going without explanations, or at least logical explanations, got to be just a bit much.

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