Variety’s Todd McCarthy doesn’t quite know what to make of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York – he seems to be saying that it is admirably ambitious yet a painful sit. Either way, it looks strong on writing and acting:
Despite the general air of unpleasantness and anxiety, and the general feeling that the film, like Caden, could explode from overloaded circuits at any moment, Kaufman’s venturesome dramaturgy and compelling writing scene-by-scene are enough to keep one’s curiosity piqued. Significantly crushed by illnesses, the drudgery of life and his failures with women, Caden doesn’t seem like the genius he sees himself as, and the inspiration triggered by the sudden blessing of complete artistic freedom may also be only a figment of his imagination. Whatever the case, Hoffman embodies him completely, forcing the audience to share his every physical and emotional wound.