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Charlie Kaufman

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things – Charlie Kaufman (2020)

More active as a writer than as director, but Charlie Kaufman has made a few interesting films. And so we have another not too big-audience film on Netflix.

Two way too intelligent youngsters just got into a relationship. After about six weeks, they take the long trip down the road to meet his parents. Kaufman let them make all kinds of intelligent, know-it-all discussions. The “young woman” already has second thoughts about the relationship and her thoughts acts somewhat as the voice over.

When at the parents the situation is, of course, a little awkward for both, but then ‘the Kaufman effect’ sets in and it seems like the “young woman” sees her relationship with Jake and with his parents in different times.

When the two drive back home, they visit a 24/7 ice bar in the middle of a snowstorm and later end up in Jake’s old school where things get even weirder. Kaufman even threw in ballet and musical.

Once more Kaufman delivered a tragic romantic story in a surrealistic and melancholic style. If you like Kaufman’s other work, this Netflix original may be a film to watch some time too.

Anomalisa * Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman (2015)

Apparently Charlie Kaufman can also make a boring film. “Anomalisa” is an animation that is too ‘real’ for an animation, but not ‘real’ enough to watch it as a film. Not my kind of animation.

The film is about a writer and speaker about customer services who travels to Cincinnati to give a lecture. Apparently his life does not go the way he would like and he tries to compensate this by using the opportunity to try to get laid.

There are a few odd moments in the film, but not enough to make it interesting. It is just a film without much of a story and what there is of a story is not very appealing (to me). Perhaps the story is more just to hang a well-made animation on to, but I am not the person to judge that.

Synecdoche, New York * Charlie Kaufman (2008)

Charlie is one of the Kaufman brothers who write these highly original and very strange filmscripts (think of “Adaptation” or “Being John Malkovich”). Both also direct films themselves, that is to say, so far this is Charlie’s only film. “Synecdoche, New York” is not as strange as the two mentioned films, but Kaufman definately came up with another set of briliant filmographic findings. We follow Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hofman), an innovatory theatre director. His personal life does not entirely go as he wishes and life and his plays start to run through eachother. Kaufman did much better than the currently popular ‘what is true, what is not’ films, but as the film continues the number of characters becomes confusing, especially because there are chronological leaps. This does not take down the film though, the viewer just has to keep attention. The atmosphere of the film is quite depressive, following its main character. There are a few laughs here and there, but overall this film will not make you feel better. Summerising I can say that “Synecdoche” is an original film, quite good too, but not great.