Synecdoche, New York marked the directorial debut of iconoclastic, cerebral screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as Caden Cotard, an eccentric playwright who lives with artist Adele Lack (Catherine Keener) and their daughter Olive in Schenectady, upstate New York. Prone to neuroses, misgivings and enormous self-doubt, Caden also begins suffering from accelerated physical deterioration - from blood in his stools to disfigured skin. Upon receiving a prestigious MacArthur grant, Caden decides to use the money to concoct one gigantic play as an analogue of his own life; he builds massive sets amid a New York City warehouse, casts others as his friends, family and acquaintances, and casts others to play the ones he's casting. After Adele whisks Olive off to Europe but demonstrates no sign of returning soon, Caden drifts into a series of relationships with lovers - first with box office employee Hazel (Samantha Morton), who purchases and moves into a house that is perpetually on fire; then with Tammy (Emily Watson), an actress assigned to play Hazel in the theatrical project; and subsequently with others. Unfortunately, the play itself grows so big and unwieldy - and rehearsals go on for so long, taking literally decades - that it becomes unclear if the production itself will ever launch.
Closed Caption; In and Around Synecdoche, New York; The Story of Caden Cotard: In Conversation With Philip Seymour Hoffman; Infectious Diseases in Cattle: Blogger's Roundtable; Screen Animations; NFTS/Script Masterclass with Charlie Kaufman
Disc #1 -- Synecdoche, New York Play Movie Subtitles English Special Feature Subtitles Subtitles Off Scene Selections Special Features In and Around Synecdoche, New York The Story of Caden Cotard Infectious Diseases in Cattle: Bloggers' Roundtable Screen Animations Jackal and Canden Cow and Sheep Gravity NFTS/Script Factory Masterclass With Charlie Kaufman Theatrical Trailer Previews Waltz With Bashir The Class I've Loved You So Long Rachel Getting Married
Synecdoche, New York 4.8 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK is a firecracker display that sets the audience up for a grand epic of adventures then sputters its lovable way through over two hours of loosely connected views of life as we live it - through the eyes of an increasingly physically disabled director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Trying to summarize what the story is and does is always as risky task when it comes to Charlie Kaufman films and the audience for this work will be decidedly separated between the love it or hate it division.
Kaufman manages to address so many issues (marriage, adultery, joblessness, that thin thread of sanity that keeps actors committed to impossibly complex problematic productions, etc) that keeping up with the nonlinear story line is challenging at best. But with a cast of characters as finely portrayed by actors such as Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh et al, the whole crazy film works wonders on the imagination. This is pure entertainment for the sake of entertainment and while Caden Cotard does represent Everyman searching for some semblance of meaning in a universe that makes little sense (except that death is inevitable!), it is the process more than the dialogue that makes this film such a pleasure to follow. Charlie Kaufman has done it again....Grady Harp