i find it frustrating that the average review of this film has suffered so much because the dvd people haven't put subtitles on it, when it's a criminally under-rated film that many people would enjoy if they gave it a chance. the people slagging it off, despite loving the film, and there are some on here, are robbing people of the chance to see it, and to find the joy that they themselves found. there being no subtitles isn't kaufman's fault, isn't amazon's fault, and isn't the fault of the people who haven't yet seen it and are looking at the average rating of films to see whether they'd like to watch it. there are other ways to protest about subtitles, but i don't see that this is the place.
"synecdoche, new york" is a film that seems to have passed so many people by, and in an age of transformers and twilight and hollywood remakes and remakes and remakes, and prequels and sequels, is that rare thing - an original work of art. it flopped in america, and generally around the world, and made it so much harder than it should for an incredible screenwriter to get cracking on his next work. i will make no bones about it - i love charlie kaufman. i don't love everything he does - i thought "being john malkovich" was interesting, and didn't particularly like "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind", but i loved both this and "adaptation", and even when it doesn't work for me, i love the risks he takes, the sheer mindblowing ambition of the man. he makes you think, he involves you, he makes you work for understanding, but he doesn't leave you out there. i think he has described it as a conversation, and it's not just a "message" for you. it's thoughts, philosophies, emotions, and he will bend reality to get it in there (so we have a woman buying a house that is on fire, we have a block being built in a warehouse where the block is clearly bigger than the warehouse it is inside). to take him literally and to get annoyed at him is to miss him entirely.
people get annoyed at films like this. "i watch a film to relax," people say. "i want to eat my popcorn, switch my brain off, and just chill out". nothing wrong with that. i like to do that too. but not every time. sometimes i want an experience, i want a film to challenge things that i have felt, or to reinforce things i have felt, but in ways that i have never even thought of before. this is that film, and it is not snobbish or elitist to suggest that there is a place for those movies too.
this isn't even a film you can understand after watching once, you must watch it again, ideally after reading everything you can find about it. you could almost do a course on this one film, there is so much there. but if it offers so much new insight after each viewing, it isn't a chore. it shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing that there is the occasional film that isn't just a popcorn film. it's just a shame that nobody seemed ready for it. i cannot recommend this enough if you are willing to watch something different, something a bit challenging. this will give you as much out of the viewing experience as you want it to, as long as you're willing to meet it halfway.
long live charlie kaufman, there aren't enough like him. there isn't even another one like him.