Meaning where a part of something represents a whole, or vice-versa. It is a figure of speech, as well as a literary trope, somewhat related to a metaphor. Often used as personification, wherein a non living thing can be represented as having a human aspect. Similarly, a human being can be represented as something non-human. Facile, unmoving, heartless. Delusional. Cold.
Charlie Kaufman takes all of the above themes and plays with them in ‘Synecdoche, New York’, a dreamlike piece of work, and perhaps his finest since ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘.
It is a difficult movie to watch, and even stomach. It is not something which needs to be understood; movies like this need to be observed, felt and reflected upon. Intensely cerebral, often-times shocking, ‘Synecdoche, New York’ would not appeal to everyone; it is a celebration of everything an artist aspires to be, and yet it is ultimately a tragedy, showing the flip-side of artistic ambition, where the real meets the unreal, plunging the artistic mind into the dark depths of uncertainty and depression.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Caden Cotard, a theatre director struggling to find a balance between his artistic ambitions and real life, and also suffering from numerous ailments. His artist wife leaves him to pursue her own goals, taking their daughter with her.
He receives a McArthur Fellowship, which gives him the financial stability to further pursue his interests.