A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. Fresh off of a successful production of Death of a Salesman, he has traded in the suburban blue-hairs and regional theater of Schenectady for the cultured audiences and bright footlights of Broadway. Armed with a MacArthur grant and determined to create a piece of brutal realism and honesty, something into which he can put his whole self, he gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in Manhattan's theater district. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a small mock-up of the city outside. As the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden's own life veers wildly off the tracks. The shadow of his ex-wife Adele, a celebrated painter who left him years ago for Germany's art scene, sneers at him from every corner. Somewhere in Berlin, his daughter Olive is growing up under the questionable guidance of Adele's friend, Maria. He's helplessly driving his marriage to actress ...Written by
Christopher Evan Welch, according to Charlie Kaufman, was cast at the last minute. Welch only had less than a day to rehearse and perform his scene, delivering a monologue. See more »
Announcer on the radio at the very beginning says it's 22 September. The newspaper is dated in October, it's Christmas when the sinks smashes his forehead, New Year's on the ride home and March in the ophthalmologist's office. Kaufman afforded his film a dreamlike quality by playing with the representation of time throughout. See more »
Caden Cotard is a man already dead, living in a half-world between stasis and antistasis. Time is concentrated and chronology confused for him. Up until recently he has strived valiantly to make sense of his situation, but now he has turned to stone.
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It was bound to happen. The brilliant writer of "Being John Malkovich", "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" made his directorial debut. Interesting, yes, without question, but self conscious to the point of distraction. Kaufman's mind with all its implications is a the center of this dream colored by illness and paranoia. Strange echoes of Julian Beck and Luis Bunuel made the experience rather gripping but I must confess I felt the need to run home and take a long shower after the film and read something funny, I selected Alan Bennet's "Uncommon Reader" It worked. I may even go again to see this Charlie Kaufman film with its unpronounceable title. I guess that even that is on purpose, so we all can refer to it as Charlie Kaufman's movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman is great, as usual. This time I also felt his body odor. Yuck! I remember Hoffman's dirty fingernails even when he was playing Truman Capote so I presume that is the actor's trait and not the character's, although, here, the filth that he exudes matches perfectly his story. Catherine Keener and Emily Watson are also superb but Samantha Morton, once again, got me completely. I will advise you to see it, at your own risk.
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