Synecdoche New York
One of my favorite movies from last year has just become one of my favorite DVD’s of this year. It isn’t just the fact that it’s available for home viewing but because of one of its Special Features. If you haven’t seen Synecdoche New York I can tell you that you are likely to love or hate it. But if you find yourself in the latter camp you could probably do lots worse than to watch it again or at the very last get ahold of this DVD and watch “Infectious Diseases in Cattle: A Bloggers Roundtable” in which a number of critics get together to discuss why they love the film, why it touched them, so much and more importantly, actually discuss what the darned thing is actually about rather than blather on and on about the sorts of things that critics all too often get lost in.
Synecdoche isn’t a perfect film but it is a deep one that plumbs big questions. Caden Cotard is a playwright who’s gotten some good news and some bad news. On the one hand he may be terminally ill but they can’t diagnose him. On the other he’s received a very, very large genius grant. Taking over an impossibly large warehouse he fills the space with a lifesize replica of New York City while desperately trying to navigate the wreck and ruin his many broken relationships. Soon he has actors playing all the signifiant roles. Then he needs actors to play the actors. Which is story and which is real life?
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is predictably great in the lead making Cotard just enough of a cad that we don’t lose sympathy with him and the supporting cast is incredible as well. Samanatha Morton, Jennifer Jason Leigh and especially Tom Noonan will not only encourage deep thought about mans search for meaning but also about mans need to express himself through the arts.