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3.6 out of 5 stars
73
3.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 September 2017
They (the critics?) say that a film lives or dies on the strength of its screenplay, so how appropriate it is that one of the most inventive of all screenwriters, Charlie Kaufman (together with director Spike Jonze), should both dissect and subvert Kaufman’s own 'day job’ in this remarkable 2002 film. Reincarnated on screen in the form of two Nicolas Cages (playing Charlie and his fictional twin, Donald), the screenwriter’s persona is deliciously split in two – one (the real Charlie?) attempting to adapt (real-life) New Yorker journalist Susan Orlean’s (Meryl Streep) 'unfilmable’ book, The Orchid Thief, into a 'commercial screenplay’, whilst the other (Donald) ditches any notion of 'artistic creation’ and attempts to rehash any (and all) Hollywood plot clichés into a blockbuster of his own. In parallel, and in flashback, we get the real-life story of how Orlean, recognising the need for some form of genuine passion in her life, is taken in by Chris Cooper’s faux-environmentalist, arch-capitalist and purloiner of the 'evolutionary wonder orchid’ – thereby giving us to ponder (at least) two other dimensions (personal and scientific) to the film’s title.

As has happened before with Kaufman’s kaleidoscopic approach to film-making (notably in the later, thematically similar, Synedoche, New York) there is, arguably, too much going on here, but via the film’s mix of sharp (often very funny) dialogue, sterling acting performances and inventive visuals, it is hard not to be impressed by the sheer levels of conceptual invention at play. For me, the film is at its strongest during the antagonistic interplay (visually depicted on screen totally seamlessly) between Cage’s twins – the actor gets Charlie’s nervy, angst-ridden suffering of writer’s block to a tee, with a highlight sequence being where he resorts to visiting Brian Cox’s 'brutally honest’ real-life creative writing guru, Robert McKee, ('God help you if you use voiceover in your work!’). The personal/scientific thread encapsulated in two superb performances by Streep and Cooper (the latter an Oscar-winning one) is fascinating and, at times, touching, but given the way Kaufman’s screenplay develops, rather has the ground swept out from under it. Depending on your point of view (or what you ‘expect’ from cinema), this is either another clever, enjoyable facet of the film or the film-makers overdoing the 'having their cake and eating it’. Having bought into the satirical, contrived nature of the film, I would side with the former – even then, it’s still possible to enjoy a moment of poignancy at the denouement!
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on 12 March 2013
I'd seen Being John Malkovich when it originally came out, and knew that I loved the film as a quirky, unique story, with brilliant visual work, fantastic script and excellent acting - so seeing it again on DVD, I was pleasantly suprised to find that none of my memories were falsely exaggerated - this is a great film, through and through!

As a double pack, this film comes with Adaptation - touted as connected to the first film due to the protaganist of Adaptation being the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich - it's based on a true story, but changed so that it is actually a work of fiction... and is surreal, but in a different way to Malkovich. Meryl Streep is, as always, brilliant; but Nic Cage (though he tries his best) leaves me feeling a little let down by how he handles the central protagonist - although I can't quite put my finger on why. It just feels like the film is building up to something, but never quite gets there. A little disappointing in parts, but overall it is worth a watch and there are some rather good moments throughout.

If nothing else - it'll leave you wanting to pick up a copy of The Orchid Thief to read afterwards...
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on 25 May 2013
This film is such a breath of fresh air! It breaks most of the rules and comes out on top. Of course, this means that it's not going to be to everyone's taste. Adaptation has a wonderfully dreamy screenplay (within a screenplay) and Nicolas Cage is perfectly cast in not one but two roles, often I suspect mirroring the life of Kaufman. What is 'reality' after all? Thoroughly enjoyed this film.
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on 7 September 2017
I have seen this film many times but only realised the other day I didn't have a copy ,and I have always said everyone who Love's film should own or at least have seen it.so now I have rectified my situation.
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2011
I bought this two-pack for Adaptation because it was suggested to me to view as part of a screenwriting course I am doing. I didn't really enjoy Adaptation. I thought the main character was a cliche and the dialogue uninspiring and the part of the plot in the swamp was almost funny - although not meant to be.

However, I really enjoyed Being John Malkovich - pace and dialogue more compelling. The plot is weird but intriguing. So worth watching, in my view.

The deal of both DVDs together cannot be beaten and as usual (in my experience) Amazon delivered promptly and without problems.
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on 30 June 2017
I watched this movie because I am a fan of Meryl Streep. However, I cringed all the way to 2/3 through the moview i.e. the point at which I gave up, I cringed in embarrassment for Ms Streep. Why did she get conned into acting in this movie? This movie is a thrird rate attempt to portray a third-rate writer's third rate attempt at being a writer.
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on 5 September 2017
Good value good quality.
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on 16 April 2017
Great movie and good service from the seller
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on 28 March 2012
Audio (Adaptation): English, Italian. (Being John Malkovich): English, French, German
Subtitles (Adaptation): English (hard of hearing), English, Hindi, Italian. (Being John Malkovich): English, Dutch, French, German.
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on 15 March 2010
These movies will change the way you think about film. The stories are complex and highly strung but the direction of Spike Jonze keeps things on a managable level for the audience to follow at a safe pace. This will not be suitable for most casual cinema goers as it is a little unorthadox but both films are two truely original screenplays and ones that you really have to see to believe.
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