Being John Malkovich (1999)

“Being John Malkovich” (1999)



voyage to your (other) self

Some films define what your dreams will become. Others help you understand what your dreams are made of. Maybe these two ideas are more close to each other than i’m willing to admit. Anyway, this film is the second type. At least to me. I am a romantic, incurable. I cry over love, uncorresponded love, true love. More and more, these last months have been a difficult hard period in my life, a time of change, indecision, not about love, but everything else. So i feel immediately like Cusack’s character, someone who is not allowed to puppeteer. All i said so far would make this film special for me.

But this is cinema, and that’s what breaks things for me here. So, in what concerns cinema, what we have here is the mix between an inspired and competent director, two of the best actors working these days (Cusack and Keener), one really interesting mind, which actually borrows himself to be the film stage, quite literally (Malkovich), and one of the best screenwriters ever.

Kaufman’s writing is, to some extent close to that of Medem. Both envision the world as a black sky filled with shiny star dots. Than, out of that sky, they take a magic marker and unite dots, until they shaped their own personal constellations, until they’ve put their souls into the sky. If you are willing to track down what they mean with every dot they choose to make their own, you will know that you are in a different world, not at all separated from our own, because it intersects it, but truly, you’ll be “inside” someone’s head. You will not control it, you will not puppeteer it, but you’ll be blessed. The difference, though, between Medem and Kaufman, is that the first one directs what he writes, always. So we have always a coordinated vision, that strikes every bit of what we see. Kaufman collaborates, and in the process gains what the directors have to give, but takes the chance of being misunderstood. In this film, all the compensations and personal interpretations by the main creative intervenients seem perfectly balanced to me. This is a sweet experience, something you will not forget.

Spike Jonze has a career as a video clip director, and that shows, he takes the visual representation of Cusack’s dramatizations to a high level, and that’s a fundamental piece of the metaphor. Puppeteering, the illusion of a created life on stage, taken to staged lives, in the real world. How Schwartz has to become another person in order to become himself, in order to freely express. In order to get the illusion of true love! What a true drama that is. How Maxine bends the benders, deceives the deceivers, manipulates everybody, even those who are supposed to be the manipulators; only to find out she shouldn’t. How Lotte is the ultimate manipulated woman, and because of that is the only uncorrupted. How Malkovich, ultimately, doesn’t exist. How Lester is the closest to God that we have on film.

Undecisions, half way between places, half floors. Channels between people, people as vessels which can contain multiple selfs. Creating literally your own reality, by blurring the definitions of self. This is as much about love as it is about the process of living that love. This is as much about truth as it is about what truth means. This is as much about a story as it is about how to tell stories. This is as much a film as it is an essay about making films, about cinema. This is a master piece of self-reference.

My opinion: 5/5 probably “eternal sunshine..” tops this, but this will be a part of you, if you’ll allow it.

This comment on IMDb


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