Thursday, March 5, 2009

Synechdoche, NY

WORTH-IT: (Charlie Kaufman) A plethora of good acting and bad karma, Kaufman's writing and directing the candy shop of a story, Synecdoche, NY is everything you ever expected of Kaufman, just more pitiful. It is meant only for his truest fans. Philip Seymour-Hoffman stars as Caden Cotard, the depression-wrought playwright recently given a grant to produce the play of a lifetime. Except he fears his lifetime is shortly ending, using this chance to prove his self-worth. Thus begins a 30+ year production of a title-less onslaught of the woes and heartache within each person in NYC Cotard calls his play. Cotard aims to reveal a starring role and leading story amongst each of his characters, along the way uncovering painful truths about himself. Kaufman spares no unspoken in his script, touching on everything from green poop to suicide to narcissistic hypochondria. Grimy personalities merge with unique stories, equalizing a world of otherwise opposing icons of Michelle Williams' starlet Claire Keen and Catherine Keener's hippie mom, Adele Lack. Kaufman forces ugly truths of stardom to emerge out of previously adored characters and tragic sacrifices. It's messed up. But, it's actually Kaufman exposing the world for what it hides (according to him). Suck it up as he drags your emotion and sensibility through an infinitely burning house and an endless-acreage warehouse for over 30 years, through numerous deaths, through reality and back, to the very bottom of the pit where Hoffman's character sits, left to see himself, isolated in the things in life that confuse, hurt, and surprise. Nothing makes sense until the end--and it's even questionable then--but the common thread holding it all together regains strength here, making everything add up, clear up and look a more and more like a reflection. Expect Kaufman's usual hyperbole, but look for his literal nudge.

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