From the insanely creative mind of Charlie Kaufman comes a film that I’ve seen labeled as the saddest of all time. This utterly unique filmmaker has given us Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Anomalisa. He is creative in a way that most filmmakers can only imagine and all of his stories are so deep and personal.
Synecdoche is not exception to that rule. This movie defies explanation, but it is the story of the life and love of a theater director. He is so absorbed in his own story that he keeps missing the stores of everyone else around him. Upon recieving a grant he decides to create a huge stage play upon which he attempts to tell the twisted story of his own sad life.
There are glimpses of genius on the part of Kaufman, the character which seems to be playing a version of him, and the actor playing that character (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). He was such a sad loss for Hollywood as you could feel the emotion dripping off of him in this film.
This is not a movie that you will be able to “explain” or tie up in a neat little bow, it is beautifully melancholic, and emotionally rich. You don’t see movies like this everyday and it is amazing that we have one here.
There are nearly 13 million people in the world, none of them are an extra. They all play the leads in their own story.
Kaufman is here telling his own sad story and the only hope is that the play goes on and someone else takes the lead. That is a very dark silver lining. This film reminded me of the depths of sadness of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes who spoke of the futility of life under the sun, specifically life without God.
Kaufman is known for this bleak hopeless storytelling. It will force you to look for hope if you can find it or into despair if you can’t. Either way, it is a great film from a master of the medium.