“Synecdoche, New York” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

10 January, 2017

Year of Release: 2008
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Screenwriter: Charlie Kaufman
Director of Photography: Frederick Elmes
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams

Synopsis: A theatre director overwhelmed by a string of crippling life events embarks on an ambitious project to create a full-sized replica of New York City inside a warehouse.

Synecdoche New York Review:

Made more than a little uncanny in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death, “Synecdoche, New York” is a film showcasing more concern for life and recollection than anything past its tragic hero’s expiration date. As a husband, father, theatre director and utterly miserable hypochondriac, Caden Cotard experiences his life in a starkly allegorical fashion and characters exist in multiple states as his inability to separate lived experience from abstract ideas plays out within his own bitter memories.

For a moment Kaufman tricks us into thinking that we’ve signed up for a family drama and yet the more Caden rummages through his past the further we are pushed down the rabbit hole into an unforgivingly abstract analysis of a regretful life. Whatever “Synecdoche, New York” appears to be at a glance is barely an atom of what it is as an experience as many parts of the story outright reject a definitive explanation while Caden goes on to outlive everyone and everything he knows and loves, left alone to painfully look back on a life comprised of memories that have been condensed and manipulated by the scars of time.

“Synecdoche, New York” is a remarkable achievement for Kaufman and it utilises a wholly sympathetic method of entry into the mind of a man who at first appears to be a completely self-absorbed and pitiful human being. The ending provides a beautiful and devastatingly universal message about the passage of time and it turns the movie into a complex metaphor for human insignificance within a world that we are yet to fully comprehend.


Review Date
Synecdoche New York