Synecdoche, New York

Rating = B+

Several of the reviewers said that you had to see this more than once to understand it. I probably won't see it again, but I wonder if my rating would go up or down after a second viewing.

A couple of sayings come to mind to summarize the themes of this film. “The unexamined life is not worth living” comes to mind; but what fits better is “examining life one finds, 'life's a bitch and then you die'.” The story starts out in Schenectady, NY, and there are many ways the “synecdoche” (si-neck-deh-kee) of the title might be relevant: the New York town represents all towns, the main characters life is representative of the lives of everyone, his stage set is representative of all of New York, actors representing living people, actors representing actors representing living people, ...

For such a puzzling (it would be easy to call it bizarre) movie, I was surprised and appreciative that it kept me engaged throughout. The acting is uniformly fine with a whole bunch of actresses we don't get to see enough of, e.g., Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest.

The music of the film is quite wonderful.