I've only come across a couple of truly worthwhile explanations/deconstructions of Charlie Kaufman's bafflingly brilliant new film Synecdoche, New York. Personally, I didn't even try to properly review the film, as doing so would have devolved into pretentious, over-analyzed drivel. So I've left that heady task to two much superior writers who have taken on the challenge to varying degrees. Both are essential reads for champions (and maybe more importantly, for dissenters) of the film.
The first is by Manohla Dargis of the New York Times.
The second is Roger Ebert's 4-star review and, more substantially, his just published accompanying blog post, "O Synecdoche, my Synecdoche!", in which he compares the film to great literature, while taking the time to acknowledge and refute the haters. Here, he has some words for Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman (who gave the film a D+ rating):
"Yes, Owen, I think "Synecdoche, N.Y." is a masterpiece. But here I've written all this additional wordage about it, and I still haven't reviewed it. How could I? You've seen it. How could I, in less time than it takes to see the movie, summarize the plot? I must say that in your finite EW space, you do a heroic job of describing what happens. But what happens is not the whole point. The movie is about how and why the stuff that happens--happens. Might as well try to describe the plot of Ulysses in 800 words or less. All you can do is try to find a key. Just in writing that, I think I have in a blinding flash solved the impenetrable mystery of Joyce's next novel, Finnegans Wake. It is the stream of conscious of a man trying to write Ulysses and always running off to chase cats."This is one film where I can truly say that you owe it to yourself to see it. No matter your opinion of the finished product, it is impossible not to come away thinking. And how many movies can make that claim nowadays?