“Synecdoche, New York” is the latest from the mind of Charlie Kaufman. This time he steps behind the camera to direct his own script. What he achieves is most perplexing film to date, as well as his best work. This is a film that needs to be seen more then once. On the surface it might seem like this is an oddly told tale of a playwright who goes a little mad trying to turn his entire life in to a theatre piece. He plans to portray his life on the set of a life sized replica of New York. But underneath I think this movie is about life, and everything about it that influences our minds.
Theatre director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is mounting a new play. Fresh off of a successful production of Death of a Salesman, he has traded in the suburban blue-hairs and regional theatre of Schenectady for the cultured audiences and bright footlights of Broadway. Armed with a MacArthur grant and determined to create a piece of brutal realism and honesty, something into which he can put his whole self, he gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in Manhattan’s theatre district. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a small mock up of the city outside.
The movie is an amazing experience. It engages the mind and the soul. I think this movie is going to divide people. Some will hate it, others will have their mind’s blown. To me, even though I have not fully wrapped my head around it yet, I found this to be Charlie Kaufman’s most mysterious yet accomplished work.