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Based on 34 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 14 )
  • 63
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Philip Seymour Hoffman creates a mesmerizing portrait of the artist as a young, old and middle-aged man. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    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

  • 38
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    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

  • 63
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    In Synecdoche, Kaufman the screenwriter is not well-served by Kaufman the filmmaker. As a director, his propensity for heavyosity leadens rather than leavens this affair. show more

  • 60
    Joe Neumaier New York Daily News

    Hoffman, Morton and Jon Brion's aching score somehow capture the all-too-human need to get things right. If you're in a certain frame of mind, those moments make up for all the stagecraft. show more

  • 70
    Ray Bennett The Hollywood Reporter

    Will mesmerize some and mystify others, while many will be bored silly. It's not a dream, Kaufman says, but it has a dreamlike quality, and those won over by its otherworldly jigsaw puzzle of duplicated characters, multiple environments and shifting time frames will dissect it endlessly. show more

  • 80
    Bob Mondello NPR

    Synecdoche, New York is one heck of a head-trip. show more

  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    I think you have to see Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York twice. I watched it the first time and knew it was a great film and that I had not mastered it. The second time because I needed to. The third time because I will want to. show more

  • 88
    Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

    As a director, Kaufman isn't yet his own best salesman. He's not enough of a visual stylist to sell his script's most challenging conceits. But the cast rises to a very strange and rich occasion. show more

  • 88
    Lou Lumenick New York Post

    It's got more imagination than half a dozen movies combined; there's nothing else out there like this, and to me that's a very good thing. show more

  • March 13, 2009 Anjrea
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    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
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    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
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    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.

  • December 07, 2008 theorist2000
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    If you walked out of this movie thinking it was brilliant, then your beret and black turtleneck must be compromising the blood flow to your brain. This film is not a masterpiece, it is a trainwreck of obnoxiously pretentious crap, target marketed at the psuedo-intellectual crowd. It was completely flat, disjointed (and not in a good way), and filled with lame, "arty" cliches. I have a suspicion that this movie is so depressingly tedious, it might give you rectal cancer in just one viewing. The burning house metaphor was cool, though.

  • December 01, 2008 JSHEALTH
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    It's a muddled mess. Don't waste your time, although I credit the actors with trying to cope with this catastrophe. Kaufman needs to hang it up and find other work. "Being John Malkovich" was mildly interesting and it's been downhill from there.

  • November 28, 2008 TZuback
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    Absolutely brilliant! Amazingly creative and thought provoking. If you are paying attention and think about what is being said, you'll come away with many important realizations (if you haven't come to these realizations in life already). honest.

  • November 26, 2008 vcardie
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    DO NOT waste your time, I did! Acting was great. I wanted to walk out, but I was already an hour into the film and I had to see how it was going to end! I wish I would have walked out.......

  • November 24, 2008 cydnemoore
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    Charlie Kaufman is a genius. This film is a masterpiece. not go in to see it with ANY preconceptions or you will be disappointed. It is avant garde film at its finest, but again, not in the traditional "weird" sense. It is at once gentle and disturbing, frightening and charming, and a most joyously chaotic journey. But if you try to figure it out, or think you've "got it" before you go in, you'll end up disappointed.

  • November 20, 2008 raamonnn73
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    I have seen thousands of movies. I have only walked out of 2 of them. THIS IS ONE OF THEM. No need to say anymore.

  • November 17, 2008 LifeisButadream7
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    This movie is a big deal. Disregard any negative press and just see it for yourself. This is not a movie that can not be summed up in one line, and that is why people don't like it.

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