Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, NY was one of the most dark, depressing films I have ever had to endure. It painted an unrelenting portrait of a man suffering from depression and a complete withdrawal from reality into his own navel-gazing. Despite the numerous strokes of luck that befall him, (receiving the Macarthur Genius Grant and having two women fall in love with him, unsolicited) he continues to focus on his own death and insecurities until it poisons his relationships and everything he holds dear. There is no redemption in the end, no epiphany that allows him to have a new view of life, just a slow downward spiral as his internalized emotional state begins to manifest in his world around him. Watch this move if you feel like you’ve been too happy lately and you need something to bring on some crushing depression.

That’s not to say that I disliked the move, or though it was poorly made. On the contrary, the extensive scope of the film and aspects of depression it covered made it a breath-taking experience. Having seen Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I recognized the same style of surrealism the Kaufman uses is many of his films. However Synecdoche takes it to a whole new level. Instead of the intense, confusing, scenes where the main character tries to make sense of his surroundings, Caden takes it all in stride, not even noticing as the world around his is ravaged by war or that his girlfriend’s house is on fire. This acquiescence is so frightening because there are aspects that are familiar to me in my own life, and, I think, all of our lives.

– Alex Van Gelder