Synedoche, New York (2008), Dir. Charlie Kaufman

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Caden, Michelle Williams as Claire and Tom Noonan as Sammy contemplate art as life.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Caden, Michelle Williams as Claire and Tom Noonan as Sammy contemplate art as life.

Rating: 9/10

It’s business as usaul in the larger than life surreal world of Kaufman in this, his directorial debut. The film charts the life of theatre director Caden Cotard as his life takes a plunge for the worse, starting with increasing alienation in his marriage to his artist wife Adele (Catherine Keener) who believes the work he does staging old plays is not personal or meaningful.

Then an accident, where he knocks his head triggers a series of increasingly bad health problems. After his wife leaves him taking his daughter Olive (Sadie Goldstein and Robin Weigert as the older Olive) and with lesbian lover Maria (it is only ever implied but obvious) (Jenifer Jason Leigh, an actress I increasingly like), he decides that he has to do something personal to his life and decides to do a large-scale theatre project tracing all the people in his life including him that rehearses with no real end in sight until Caden himself dies.

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