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This certainly was one of the most original movies to come down the pike in the last few years. But while the idea of a portal into someone's mind is certainly interesting, Being John Malkovich contained virtually no character that I had any emotional connection to at all. None of the main characters are likeable, and the movie really starts to go downhill after the novelty of the portal wears off. The best acting performance, by far, is John Malkovich, and I like the fact that he was willing to poke fun at himself. But, overall, I just think this is a very detached movie and certainly not deserving of the top 50 all-time rating it has on here right now. If you're looking for a unique film with some characters and situations to care about from 1999, check out Three Kings instead.
I am against pointless movies. If a movie doesn't have a message, it is pointless. Entertainment without morals is the central idea behind hedonism. And for the mature viewer, this movie failed to make any profound points. It just tries to be weird and different for the sake of being weird and different. It was not funny; it was not shocking; it was just plain stupid.
Of all the negative comments I have seen on here, none of them have had
substance. It seems that none of them saw the movie, or are bitter
they didn't get what the rest of us saw.
This is a well shot inventive movie which stretches the imagination and makes one think about what is or could be possible. This is a deep film which works on many levels, and perhaps for the overly literal minded viewer, these fine points could be missed.
In this day and age, with all of the reissues, remakes and directors'
it is refreshing to see a film filled with original thought. A film such
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH is a rare commodity in today's violence and sex-filled cinema. Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is an artist, an extremely talented but frustrated artist, who can't seem to catch a break. He is frustrated that a competing artist (despite his lack of talent) gets all the work. He has a loving wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) who wants him to get a job, any job. She wants to have children, a nice home and a good life. He doesn't want to compromise his art. Eventually, however, reality sinks in. One day he answers an ad in the classifieds for a file clerk with fast hands and nimble fingers, and the adventure begins. When he arrives for his interview he discovers a very strange atmosphere with some very odd characters. He nails the interview and despite the bizarre surroundings gets the job. It is during his orientation that he meets another new employee, Maxine (Catherine Keener), with whom he is instantly smitten. He begins to flirt with her at every opportunity and she continuously shoots him down. Then, one day, purely by accident, he discovers something that will change his life forever. This discovery, it turns out, is a portal into the mind and body of John Malkovich. After entering and experiencing the sensation of a lifetime, he tells his sexy officemate and she convinces him that they should become partners in a very unusual business venture.
Craig then tells his wife of his new entrepreneurial adventure and she demands to experience the ride - but, not before meeting Maxine. The two women immediately develop an unusual attraction to each other. Talk about an uncomfortable situation. This predicament eventually pushes Craig over the edge. He snaps and takes their alliance to a more perilous level. Craig ultimately begins to get some control over the host Malkovich, which causes a rift in the relationship between his wife and Maxine. Consequently, John Malkovich catches on and tries to put a stop to this invasion of his privacy. It's at this point that Mr. Malkovich takes the strangest and most disturbing, not to mention hilarious, journey of his life. A heated argument between Craig and the bewildered Malkovich follows at the rather peculiar exit from the portal. Malkovich makes it absolutely clear that he wants everyone to stay out of his head. But, it's not that simple. Things have become too complicated in our gang's lives to stop now. Craig takes over Malkovich's life and in the process misplaces his own. He stays inside the portal and uses the fame of his host to further his own career. But, is he really happy with `his' success? Ultimately, this is the real question. Craig finally has the fame he wants and, some would believe, deserves. But, it's not really him that gets the attention - It 's Malkovich! Can he accept Being John Malkovich?
Puppeteering, for Craig (John Cusack), is the nearest thing to his heart's
desire, getting inside another person's skin to animate his soul. It doesn't
pay well, so he file-clerks on floor seven-and-a-half of the world's
weirdest office building--everyone on this midget-sized floor has to walk
around hunched over at the waist. Craig's wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) wants a
baby but makes do with babying disturbed chimps and other castoff
At the office, Craig lusts after no-nonsense Maxine (Catherine Keener). At the after-office-hours watering hole, when he says he's a frustrated puppeteer, she's like, "Waiter! Check please!" But after behind a file cabinet he discovers a secret portal into the mind of actor John Malcovich (played by himself)--this is, after all, a fantasy--she senses a business opportunity. They can charge unfulfilled souls $200 to spend 15 minutes in celebrity skin and be spit out safely by the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.
No one is keener to try it than Lotte. Somehow she knows it'll be ecstasy, and it is: she immediately wants to become a transsexual. Hearing this, Maxine, cool to Craig but warm to Lotte, has a hot flash which stands her nipples at attention: she'll seduce Malcovich while Lotte is inside him. When Lotte digs it and Craig finds out, Craig locks Lotte in the chimp's cage and, unbeknownst to Maxine and Malcovich, replaces her as the third in a unique ménage à trois.
From here, the permutations of identify transfer proliferate to the delight of the viewer, if not always the onscreen characters. The movie creates a brand new form of perversion and then redeems it. Without giving away the ending, it can be revealed that this film extends metaphors of getting inside another person--sex, identity transfer, puppeteering--into unsuspected avenues of redemption and intimations of both novel and traditional versions of immortality.
I had heard Being John Malkovich was very good before I saw it, and I
seriously didn't expect it to be in My Year's top 10. But the film is so
brilliant, full of effort and unforgettable it would be hard for anyone to
dislike it. Charlie Kaufman's script was remarkable, it should have won over
Alan Ball's American Beauty, and anyone could say that. Spike Jonze also put
alot of effort into this movie, he is certain to be a big 21st century
director. The acting is also excellent, Cameron Diaz and John Cusack have
rarely been better, and Catherine Keener and John Malkovich are simply a joy
If you haven't seen Being John Malkovich, you are really missing out on a clever, interesting and brilliant film, so I highly recommend you see it today! Anyone would say the same thing!
This movie has to be one of the more bizarre and twisted I've seen in years.
It has definite comedic elements, but isn't really a comedy. It has science
fiction elements, but isn't sci-fi. If you force it into a classification,
then it must be a drama.
All three major cast members turn in very strong performances, and the edit work is also excellent.
In short - make sure you're ready for a big reality twist when you see it. Also, be patient. It's a hard one to stick with for the first half of the film.
Does this film look into the relationship between the spectator and the
actor? Am I reading something into Being John Malkovich that just isn't
there? In other words John Cussack and Cameron Diaz are dowdy - ugly -
dissatisfied - bored - yearning but unsuccessful and then they discover
something...something that allows them for a short period of time to
another's body, another persona. They become happy escaping into the
of another human being - whom just so happens to be a famous actor. They
feel like they have found themselves during these short periods of time.
Things are safe and exciting all at once. They want to do it again and
again - just so they can escape their own sense of humdrum and there's
always the middleman willing to take their money (aka Catherine Keener).
Isn't this just like our experience of film and the cinema. Don't we go
vicariously live someone else's life for a while - to forget our own
to be john malkovich?
Maybe I'm just up my own a**e? It's just one of the many strands I thought about when watching this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I finally went to see this movie, I wasn't aware of the plot and I
hadn't read any reviews.
Therefore it TOTALLY and UTTERLY surprised me, being the BRILLIANT movie that it is!
Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say, it won't be such a surprise for *you* anymore, having read this spoiler-review... :-)
I think we may have touched on one of the few disadvantages of checking out a movie before you go see it.
ultimately not what it could have been. What begins as a fantastical exploration of a warped reality .... amazing and engaging in its portrayal of "being John Malkovich" has, by the 3/4 mark, run out of gas. The uniqueness of the vision does not sustain a rapidly thinning plot. Enjoyable nonetheless.
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