Charlie Kaufman is arguably one of the finest writers of coming in the 21st century. Debuting with Being John Malkovich, he's continued to impressed many people with his endless originality, amazing characters and wonderful storytelling. It's funny that many people call Eternal Sunshine or Adaptation a Kaufman movie. While he is most of the brains behind those gems, the director is still, in my opinion, the main man behind the picture. But still, the fact that it's called a Kaufman movie even when he's not the entire driving force behind tells you something.
Enter his 2008 directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, showing Kaufman's full style when he's behind the camera and not standing there awkwardly on the set. It takes a while for many of the films meanings to sink in, sometimes multiple viewings, and some...no, many people will definitely walk away feeling frustrated. It's not an easy film to digest, both after watching it and watching it, but there are things about it that can't be ignored.
The film follows Caden Cotard, a theatre director who is living an absolutely miserable life. His wife took his daughter to go to Berlin without him, and is constantly fearing of death. Deciding to channel those feelings in theater, he rents out a large warehouse to create a giant replica of New York, casting who knows how many actors and actresses to play a part of, as Cotard puts it, his "Miserable, fucking lonely life".
This sounds pretty ridiculous because it absolutely is. Like I said, Kaufman is no stranger to surrealism, but it gets to a point where you lose track of what the hell is going on. But at the same time, it's a really coherent story. Not in the context of plot, but one that relies on pure emotions. One of the main characters buys a house that's constantly on fire and runs the risk of dying. Of course no one in their right mind would do that in real life, but it's all taken through an absurdist lens, which gives the perfect gateway to show what emotions are in this sense.
Time passes by quickly. Cotard confuses a week for a year when his wife and daughter Olive go to Berlin, the diary entries written Olive go from an innocent child voice to a mature french woman. If you're probably confused by the time the first third is over, it's excused, but honestly, like multiple instances throughout this, you're mishearing me. This movie is not one just to be simply watched, but felt through. If you hate it the first time, think about it at least once a year when you age up one year. You'll be shocked to find how closer to reality this film is. The more thought put into it, the more sad you'll feel, and the thoughts, like life, go by so fast until it's too late. Sometimes, the more absurd a film is, the more connected to reality it can be. This "review" is over.