Synedoche, New York

Film, Comedy
5 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars
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.

By: Dave Calhoun



Release details

Release date:
Friday May 15 2009
124 mins

Cast and crew

Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman
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
You may also like