Saturday, November 22, 2008

Synecdoche, New York

We had a lovely time last night with Hightouch Megastore and the Historian. First we went to see "Synecdoche, New York," then we had dinner at a funky little place downtown.
Having finally seen the film, I allowed myself to read the reviews this morning. I had, actually, read the New York Times review, which is glowing. But my favorite was this review by Roger Ebert. I felt like Ebert really got the movie (in a way that I didn't!), but also that he was generous and smart, which I appreciate.
So: what's my reaction? First, I thought it was huge and sprawling, and ambitious, all of those good. I also thought it was beautiful. And a mess. A bit of a mess. I agree with Ebert that maybe I need to see it again to really get it, which I think is to Kaufman's credit. And I think the average American movie viewer (the people who made "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" the number one movie in America, at least for a time) are not going to have the patience for it. And that's fine, I think. Not everyone loves everything. I'm not saying it's above them, but that it takes attention and time. I mean, these are the people (sorry, Hightouch) who are sleeping overnight on sidewalks to see "Twilight." Maybe this movie is not for them.
So, I think this movie is for me. And, as one of its intended audience members, I have to say I felt bewildered at times. And, now, I think this is the point. The movie is not supposed to feel like a "movie" but like life. Sometimes it doesn't make sense. It's confusing. A lot of the time, you feel bad. You wish some of the events had gone other ways. When the characters are gone, you miss them and want them to come back. You want more of Adele. Where's Adele? Gone.
Much of the movie is touching and funny.
Okay, I have to say it: Kaufman is a genius. Damn him!


Lisa B. said...

You're right, this is a very good review and I think it does helpfully give a humane sense of what the film's doing, its method and subject matter.

Now I want to see it again.

And just for the record: I am not, have not, and will not sleep out for tickets to Twilight. I will probably see it because it is a phenomenon, and because the director is a good director, and because bad books sometimes make compelling or interesting movies. And I think it's okay for movies (the genre) to do more than one thing. Like, I will never go see a horror film. NEVER. But for some people, horror films are one of the reasons that movies exist. Anyway, I will report about Twilight. As we all know, I'll see anything and probably find something to like about it.

Lisa B. said...

And I agree (sorry to take up more than one comment) that SNY is definitely a movie made for me--I found it absorbing and smart and also emotionally compelling. If there were missteps--maybe--it still seems like a work of art. As Ebert says, comparable to great, complex works of fiction.

ErinAlice said...

I don't know anything about the movie except what you wrote and that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is it. Is that right? Okay I would see it for that but will, like usual, wait for it to come out on DVD. I am waiting for your review of Milk, which I really do want to see. Love Sean Penn. Twilight-you could not pay me to see. Ugh!! I will just read other people's reviews and leave it at that.

lis said...

Was it a hot mess? This is my favorite new phrase and I need to take every opportunity to use it.

I will go see that movie soon, maybe when the semester is over and I have time--or something like that.