People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.
~ Thomas Szasz, “Personal Conduct,” The Second Sin, 1973
syn·ec·do·che (sih-NECK-doh-kee) (n.)
A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).
I have no idea how this movie slipped below my radar.
While I’m not a particularly huge Charlie Kaufman fan, I adore Philip Seymour Hoffman. Add Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Michelle Williams and Samantha Morton to the mix and holy-freakin’-crap I’ll take a double.
Curse you, my supposedly hip, indie-loving “moving image enthusiasts” for not clueing me in!
You’re all fired!
I will now be taking recommendations from my favorite theologian, Kathy @ The Carnival in My Head. She’s never let me down.
There is no nutshell description for Synecdoche, New York. I tried to find one, but none of them do it justice; as my favorite film critic put it, “It will open to confused audiences and live indefinitely.”
I’ve felt this way about a few different pieces of art in my lifetime . . .
And now this. I’ve watched it twice in just under twelve hours and, if I can wrangle the TV away from the kids and their as-of-late nonstop Harry Potter marathon, I just might sit through it again tonight. I’ve laughed, cried, and shuddered.
It’s that good.
Maybe I’m just open to this sort of movie more than usual at this point in my life. The main character, Caden Cotard, is a theater director. He’s 40. Balding. And completely lost. He does what he does, moving from production to production, with his sanity lagging half a block behind. He’s mysteriously ill. Or maybe a hypochondriac. He imagines how things will be and then sees them that way, regardless of the fact that they make no sense. Cotard is an island, with cast and crew in tow, striving to play God in his own life and the lives of others on one hand, while bemoaning the very possibility of his existence on the other.
This movie unfurls magestically at one moment, and then folds pack onto itself the next. The images are startling yet downplayed. Like life – the whole and the part. As Ebert put it (and he puts it way better than I ever could), Synecdoche, New York “encompasses every life and how it copes and fails. Think about it a little and, my god, it’s about you. Whoever you are.”
See this movie, dear Tweaker. Better late than never. You’ll thank me . . .