Many of you will see Synecdoche today or sometime soon. Here are a few reviews to open a discussion for anyone who needs to talk it out.
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times: To say that Charlie Kaufman‚Äôs ‚ÄúSynecdoche, New York‚Äù is one of the best films of the year or even one closest to my heart is such a pathetic response to its soaring ambition that I might as well pack it in right now… Despite its slippery way with time and space and narrative and Mr. Kaufman‚Äôs controlled grasp of the medium, ‚ÄúSynecdoche, New York‚Äù is as much a cry from the heart as it is an assertion of creative consciousness. It‚Äôs extravagantly conceptual but also tethered to the here and now, which is why, for all its flights of fancy, worlds within worlds and agonies upon agonies, it comes down hard for living in the world with real, breathing, embracing bodies pressed against other bodies.
Scott Tobias, The Onion: For this master of mindfuckery, Synecdoche, New York probably qualifies as a magnum opus, since it essentially multiplies Adaptation by an exponential factor and thus grows into a snarling, ungainly beast of self-reflexive absurdities. It’s a movie that doesn’t just benefit from repeat viewings but practically requires them.
And after the cut, a couple of critics who just didn’t get it.
Owen Gleiberman, EW: It’s a hallowed ritual of film culture. An artist makes a movie that is so labyrinthine and obscure, such a road map of blind alleys, such a turgid challenge to sit through that it sends most people skulking out of the theater ‚Äî except, that is, for a cadre of eggheads who hail the work as a visionary achievement. It happened in 1961, with that high-society puzzle obscura Last Year at Marienbad, and in 2006, with David Lynch’s through-the-looking-glass bore Inland Empire… Now Charlie Kaufman, the brain-tickling screenwriter of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has directed his first movie, Synecdoche, New York (he also wrote it), and yes, it is one of those ”visionary” what-the-hell doozies. Prepare to be told that it’s a masterpiece.
Excellent! Gleiberman hates it; ergo, I’ll like it. (uh-oh, is ergo an egghead word?)
Armand White, New York Press: Kaufman‚Äôs artiness ignores political reality‚Äîfurther congratulating hipsters who prefer Todd Haynes‚Äìstyle narcissism to Todd Solondz‚Äôs humane sociological explorations (Kaufman imitates both)… Pity those nerds and fashion-sheep who’ll waste time trying to connect Kaufman‚Äôs symbols, cite the many David Lynch references and puzzle for ways to use ‚Äúsynecdoche‚Äù in daily conversation.
Or we could pity the pompous twitics like Gleiberman and White who devote so much time insulting moviegoers who appreciate Lynch, Resnais, and Todd Haynes. I thought these soft-boiled egghead critics only stooped to sneer at audiences who like The Dark Knight. Is this what we want from a review? Scorn toward readers who disagree with them?