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Synedoche, New York

5 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

This is as neurotic in its inquiry and as experimental in its telling as you might expect from the first film as writer/director from the man who penned Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Hoffman is Caden Cotard, a theatre director of middling talent in Schenectady, New York (the film’s title is a corruption of the place name), whose life begins to unravel when his wife (Keener) leaves him for Berlin taking his young daughter with her. Ensuing relationships with Hazel, the theatre receptionist (Morton), and Claire, an actress (Williams), both fail and Hoffman’s reaction to his crumbling life is to embark on a sprawling, warehouse-size theatre piece that mirrors the mundanity of the everydaylife of him and everybody around him. This interest in the artist being consumed by his own work echoes Adaptation. The film’s mood turns from comic paranoia (think early Woody Allen) to confusing and despairing as new cast members assume theatrical alter egos (Noonan for Cotard, Watson for Hazel), the years go by, characters age, and the theatre piece is never ready. Deeply ambitious, it’s genius at some points. But at others, it barely connects.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 15 May 2009
  • Duration:124 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Charlie Kaufman
  • Screenwriter:Charlie Kaufman
  • Cast:
    • Dianne Wiest
    • Peter Friedman
    • Philip Seymour Hoffman
    • Emily Watson
    • Samantha Morton
    • Jennifer Jason Leigh
    • Michelle Williams
    • Tom Noonan
    • Hope Davis
    • Catherine Keener
    • Stephen Adly Guirgis
    • Josh Pais
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