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Synecdoche, New York (2008)

“Synecdoche, New York” (2008) on IMDb
Rating: 3.5/5
“Synecdoche, New York” (2008) movie poster

Decidedly original and unconventional, quirky, thought-provoking, ambitious, humorous—it should come as no surprise that adjectives such as those apply to this film, considering that it is written by Charlie Kaufman, who also makes his directorial debut here.

Overall, Synecdoche, New York—I really like that title—is not as viscerally effective as it is intellectually intriguing with its ruminations on life, death, art, and living. While the first act engages the viewer emotionally, the remainder of the movie is intentionally disjointed, which makes for a rather confusing and frustrating experience.

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The film as a whole does not achieve greatness, but there are more than a few brilliant moments in it. The scene that takes place in an airplane is hilarious; one poignant scene shows the central character visiting his grown-up daughter in a hospital in Germany.

Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers an outstanding performance, hitting all the right notes as Caden Cotard. The other cast members, including Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, and Tom Noonan, are perfect in their roles.