Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Glorious Part for Every Whole

I was hoping I'd happen upon something great for my 400th full review, and I did. Though lots of people will be puzzled or put off by Synecdoche, New York, and I feel sure I understand why people who don't like it don't like it, I am equally sure that I am completely besotted with it. I can't wait to see it again, to reconsider some possible "solutions" to this enormous puzzle, to enjoy all the local details that happily deter you from finding "solutions," and to thank the movie afresh for giving a much-needed jolt to the autumn multiplex. There's so little else that I'm truly anticipating before the year is out (Milk, The Wrestler, and a handful of overseas imports) that I was worried all my best '08 experiences would be found on DVD. Thanks, Charlie. Thanks, Philip. Thanks to everyone who ever made anything crazy and huge and eccentric, and admitted that it was all very hard on the people around them, and hardest (maybe) on themselves.

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Blogger tim r said...

Wow. I suddenly cannot wait to see this, and it was previously in like the third or fourth rank of stuff I really want to see. Your review makes it sound so full, in the best way.

6:56 PM, November 11, 2008  
Blogger Sam Brooks said...

Great review! I've been so interested to see this movie, and I can't wait for it to come out here. It seems impossible to get an impression of it from words, so I just have to see it!

8:33 PM, November 11, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Whoa, sweet! A full-on A! I haven't seen one of those from you for a long time. I'm not even going to read the review yet: I'm just going to see the film, if it ever comes anywhere near me.

9:18 PM, November 11, 2008  
Blogger Lev Lewis said...

Synecdcohe is certainly not an easy film to review but you've really done it justice. So glad you gave it an A. I saw it at TIFF and felt the same amount of jubilation and love you got from it.

10:18 PM, November 11, 2008  
Blogger Guy Lodge said...

I am in complete agreement. I'm not sure how the film manages to feel simultaneously so cluttered and so spare -- and no image from a film this year took my breath away more than the single withered leaf falling from Olive's tattoo.

It was nice meeting you (albeit briefly) in London, Nick -- hope you had a great visit.

8:23 AM, November 12, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Thanks so much, everyone! I can't wait to hear what Tim, Brooke, and Dr. S think when and if the movie opens near where you live, and to Lev and Guy (great meeting you in London!), I'm so appreciative of being amongst fellow, heart-swollen admirers.

6:37 AM, November 13, 2008  
Blogger Colin Low said...

"No" is such a simple word, its dramatic power in this scene so tremendous and pure, yet so under-exploited.

Now I'm salivating to watch this movie. No screenwriter has done more with a simple word than Kaufman has for me ("okay"), so if your aforementioned scene even remotely approaches the bittersweet revelation of Eternal Sunshine's finale, I am so there.

6:57 AM, November 13, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Colin: One of the things I couldn't figure out how to jam into this already-lengthy review is how those haunting "Okay"s from Eternal Sunshine get a huge workout in this one. I allude to it ("I'm okay"/"I don't want you to be okay!"), but it's clearly a word that still haunts him. And in several of its relationships, especially Hoffman/Morton, I think we're seeing what happens after the Okay/Okay moment at the end of Sunshine. Not pretty, I'm sorry to say. Although these are different characters, for sure.

7:13 AM, November 13, 2008  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

i haven't yet read your review yet but my basic issue with it is that it feels like too many ideas and not enough cinema. I love ideas but I need movies to have both. I much prefer Jonze or Gondry's aesthetics shaping Kauffman's great words/ideas.

and I'm weary of his miserabilism. it's like he's daring you to think he's as pathetic as he thinks he is. Cast a schlumpy actor as yourself and then underline the point by giving him skin disorders and bowel problems? and then have him cry for the whole movie.

I didn't like it. But I'm glad to see others somehow uncovered the joy in so much misery.

guy -- i don't really get the tattoo thing because it seems like such a visual leap that has no correlation aesthetically to the style of the rest of the movie. Although maybe the same could be said for the burning home and that was inarguably my favorite part of the film.

11:17 AM, November 13, 2008  

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