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Synecdoche | Movie Review & Trailer | Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams

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  Synecdoche Movie Review (3 1/2 Stars)
      Movie Review & Movie Trailer

 

Synecdoche

Synecdoche Movie Review Synecdoche Movie Trailer Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Synecdoche

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Most movies fling an audience from A to B to C so that the typical customer response to the average studio product -- "Well, it was OK" -- is elicited and there's a few more ducats in the coffers at the end of the day and no hard feelings. Being taken for a ride in comfortably predictable fashion: That's the idea.

Now and then, though, you encounter a film roomy enough to walk around in, like an art installation. It might get you vexed, or lost. But you might work your way out of the labyrinth to find yourself shaken up and genuinely moved by the experience.

"Synecdoche, New York," the new film from screenwriter and first-time feature director Charlie Kaufman, has provoked an astonishing variety of responses from those who have walked around in it.

Fabulous. Worst film ever. Spellbinding. Like listening to paint dry, while watching someone else watch paint dry. It's an imperfect sprawl, steeped in the juices of artistic torment, romantic nostalgia, a mordant sense of humor and a landscape of "vague regrets and vaguer hopes," as one character puts it.

It sounds like a bummer, and for a lot of folks, it'll be a bummer. I found it bracing, and genuinely in touch with the sweet chaos and ache of life. The directorial debut from the author of such comparatively jaunty existential adventures as "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" has a tricky story rhythm. Its early, domestically grounded scenes are handled in staccato fashion, shifting around the midpoint to a contemplative legato as its protagonist, a theater director from upstate New York, pours his increasingly bewildering life into an epic performance piece that takes half a lifetime to rehearse. Kaufman's movie is about the difficulty of living and loving and the punch line known as death. "We're the animal that knows it's going to die," as Kaufman said in an interview following the world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. "That's our specialty."

It begins conventionally enough. Caden Cotard, played with a tamped-down desperation by Philip Seymour Hoffman, lives in Schenectady, N.Y., with his wife, Adele (Catherine Keener), and their daughter, Olive (Sadie Goldstein as a child, Robin Weigert as an adult ). The household is a liberal arts cliche, full of "Morning Edition" on the radio and itchy artistic preoccupations discussed at the breakfast table. Adele works on teeny-tiny canvases in the family basement. Caden's latest project is a revival of "Death of a Salesman," populated by a weirdly underage cast.

The marriage is corroding. With Olive and Adele's vaguely subversive friend Maria (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in tow, Adele takes off to Berlin to find herself and become famous. ("I'm famous!" is how she begins one painful long-distance call back home.) Caden's body, meantime, wages a conspiracy against its owner. Is he dying? Is his marriage worth the struggle, especially if Adele's already cut out with their daughter?

Suddenly a mixed blessing crash-lands into Caden's life, in the form of a MacArthur "genius" grant, enabling him to embark on a theatrical project of bruising honesty and endless self-examination. He rents a warehouse in New York City and re-creates scenes and characters from his rapidly passing life. Hazel, the tempting young woman who worked the box office during "Death of a Salesman," is now Caden's lover, and is played by another woman, Tammy. Caden hires an actor (more of a stalker, really) to play himself. Years seem to pass through wormholes, so that neither Caden nor the audience knows how much time has elapsed between Caden's first marriage and his second.

A synecdoche, pronounced "sin-ECK-de-key," refers to a "part representing the whole" or "the whole symbolizing a part," and as Caden re-creates parts of his memories for a stage extravaganza that will never reach opening night, the film piles riddles atop absurdities atop very real feelings of loss. Hazel lives in a house that is on fire, and not in the metaphorical sense. She tries to make the best of it. Caden, whose last name relates to Cotard's syndrome, a depressive wallow having to do with nihilistic delusions, keeps plodding forward, while his shrink offers little practical help beyond the sale of her latest self-help book.

As a director, Kaufman isn't yet his own best salesman. He's not enough of a visual stylist to sell his script's most challenging conceits. But the cast rises to a very strange and rich occasion. The women's roles actually count for something in this film, and in addition to Keener, Samantha Morton as the goggle-eyed dear Hazel, and Emily Watson as Tammy, the actress hired to play her in Caden's Pirandellian show, deliver honest bits of reality amid the craziest artifice. Dianne Wiest enters the action as a famous actress who plays, at one point, Caden, while assuming a stage-manager-as-God role in other scenes.

When you see "Synecdoche, New York" -- and you should, even though I know a solid percentage of any audience will haaaaaate it -- watch how Kaufman and editor Robert Frazen handle the scenes with Hope Davis as the shrink, cutting off the ends of the acidly amusing dialogue exchanges so that things seem not quite "real" or "normal." The entire film contains elements of a dream, or a trance. It is a dying fall, but a living, breathing one.

 

MPAA rating: R (for language and some sexual content/nudity).

Running time: 2:03.

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Caden Cotard); Samantha Morton (Hazel); Michelle Williams (Claire); Catherine Keener (Adele); Emily Watson (Tammy); Dianne Wiest (Ellen Bascomb/Millicent Williams); Jennifer Jason Leigh (Maria); Hope Davis (Madeleine Gravis); Tom Noonan (Sammy).

Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman; photographed by Frederick Elmes; edited by Robert Frazen; music by Jon Brion; production design by Mark Friedberg; produced by Anthony Bregman, Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze and Sidney Kimmel. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

 

Synecdoche Movie Trailer

 

About Synecdoche Movie

SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, the directorial debut of Academy Award® Winner Charlie Kaufman, premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival and was met with great excitement from both critics and audiences. Not only will SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK play esteemed North American festivals in Toronto, Hamptons, Austin, Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale this fall, but will also be honored at other international festivals in London, Sitges and Rio, just to name a few.

Locally and internationally, the film continues to spark discussion and conversation on so many important levels. Please regard the following quotes from critics that have expressed praise after experiencing SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK.

Theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is mounting a new play. His life catering to suburban blue-hairs at the local regional theater in Schenectady, New York is looking bleak. His wife Adele (Catherine Keener) has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter Olive (Sadie Goldstein) with her. His therapist, Madeleine Gravis (Hope Davis), is better at plugging her best-seller than she is at counseling him. A new relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel (Samantha Morton) has prematurely run aground. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his autonomic functions, one by one.

Worried about the transience of his life, he leaves his home behind. He gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in New York City, hoping to create a work of brutal honesty. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a growing mockup of the city outside.

However, as the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden's own life veers wildly off the tracks. Somewhere in Berlin, his daughter is growing up under the questionable guidance of Adele's friend, Maria (Jennifer Jason Leigh). His lingering attachments to both Adele and Hazel are causing him to helplessly drive his new marriage to actress Claire (Michelle Williams) into the ground. Sammy (Tom Noonan) and Tammy (Emily Watson), the actors hired to play Caden and Hazel, are making it difficult for the real Caden to revive his relationship with the real Hazel. The textured tangle of real and theatrical relationships blurs the line between the world of the play and that of Caden's own deteriorating reality.

The years rapidly fold into each other, and Caden buries himself deeper into his masterpiece. As he pushes the limits of his relationships, both personally and professionally, a change in creative direction arrives in Millicent Weems (Dianne Wiest), a celebrated theater actress who may offer Caden the break he needs.

About the Cast Synecdoche Movie

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN (Caden)

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN (Caden) has completed production on Richard Curtis’ latest project The Boat That Rocked and has two films releasing by end of the year: Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, NY, which Kaufman wrote and directed and John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt opposite Meryl Streep. Last year Hoffman starred in the independent film The Savages for which he won a Best Actor Spirit Award; Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Prior to that, Hoffman starred in Capote, which he executive produced through his company, Cooper’s Town Productions. In addition to winning the Academy Award® for Best Actor, Hoffman earned a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his performance.

Other film credits include Mission Impossible: III, Along Came Polly, Cold Mountain, The Party’s Over, Owning Mahowny, 25th Hour, Red Dragon, Punch-Drunk Love, Love Liza, Almost Famous, State and Main, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Magnolia, Flawless, Patch Adams, Happiness, The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Twister, Nobody’s Fool, Scent of a Woman and HBO’s Empire Falls.

Hoffman joined the LAByrinth Theater Company in 1995 and became its Co-Artistic Director in 2001. As an actor, his theater credits include LAByrinth's production of Jack Goes Boating (The Public Theater), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Broadway), The Seagull (The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival), True West (Broadway), Defying Gravity (American Place Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (directed by Peter Sellars), Shopping and F*cking (New York Theatre Workshop) and The Author’s Voice (Drama Department).

His LAByrinth directing credits include the world premieres of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Our Lady of 121st Street, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings, each written by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Hoffman’s celebrated New York production of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it won the 2001 Fringe First Award, and London’s Donmar Warehouse, where it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Play of 2002. It then moved on to London’s West End for an extended run at The Arts Theatre. Similarly, his acclaimed production of Our Lady of 121st Street transferred Off Broadway to the Union Square Theater, where it ran for nearly six months.

Hoffman also directed Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living at MCC Theater in 2001. He traveled to Australia to direct Andrew Upton’s Riflemind at the famed Sydney Theater Company and he recently directed the Stephen Adly Guirgis play, The Little Flower of East Orange for LAByrinth.

SAMANTHA MORTON (Hazel)

SAMANTHA MORTON (Hazel) has received numerous awards for her work, including a Golden Globe and two Academy Award® nominations.

Growing up in Nottingham, England, she joined Central Television’s Junior Workshop at age 13, where she was quickly spotted and cast in early television roles, including Cracker and Peak Practice. Acclaimed theatre work included two award-winning plays at London’s Royal Court Theatre: Ashes and Sand and Stargazy Pie and Sauerkraut. At 17, Morton was cast as Tracy in the award-winning television drama Band of Gold. The television films Emma and Tom Jones quickly followed and led to her playing the title role in Robert Young’s acclaimed telefilm Jane Eyre.

Morton first came to the attention of International film audiences as Iris in Carine Adler’s harrowing UNDER THE SKIN. It was a role that earned her unanimous critical acclaim and the Boston Film Critics Award for Best Actress. In 1999, Woody Allen cast her as the mute Hattie in SWEET AND LOWDOWN, for which she received both Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Notable roles in Alison Maclean’s JESUS’ SON, Julien Temple’s PANDEMONIUM, Eric Style’s DREAMING OF JOSEPH LEES and Amos Gitais’ EDEN followed. In 2002, Morton starred as the title role in Lynne Ramsay’s critically acclaimed MORVERN CALLAR. She then went on to appear opposite Tom Cruise as the pre-cog Agatha in Steven Spielberg’s MINORITY REPORT, Maria Gonzales in Michael Winterbottom’s CODE 46, Sarah in Jim Sheridan’s IN AMERICA (for which she received her second Oscar® nomination for Best Actress) and Claire in Roger Michell’s ENDURING LOVE (for which she received a British Independent Film Award Best Actress nomination). Films in 2005 and 2006 included the New Zealand epic RIVER QUEEN, THE LIBERTINE, opposite Johnny Depp, and LASSIE. She also received a half-lifetime achievement award from Dennis Hopper’s Cinevegas Film Festival.

In 2007, Morton was seen in CONTROL, playing Deborah Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s film about the life of the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, and as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Harmony Korine’s MISTER LONELY. In addition, Morton played the part of Myra Hindley, opposite Jim Broadbent, in the NBC/Channel 4 film Longford (which aired in the States on HBO). Her performance earned her a BAFTA and an Emmy nomination.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

MICHELLE WILLIAMS’ (Claire Keen) performance in Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress as well as Best Supporting Actress nominations from SAG, Golden Globe, and BAFTA. She also won a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for her performance.

In 2004, Williams shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with her fellow actors from Thomas McCarthy's THE STATION AGENT for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. In 2005, Williams was honored by the Motion Picture Club as Female Star of Tomorrow. Williams was most recently nominated for 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for her performance in Wim Wenders’ LAND OF PLENTY.

Williams’ other film credits include Marcel Langenegger's DECEPTION, Todd Haynes’ I’M NOT THERE, Dan Harris’ IMAGINARY HEROES, Richard Ledes’ A HOLE IN ONE, Ethan Hawke’s THE HOTTEST STATE, Julian Goldberger’s THE HAWK IS DYING, Sandra Goldbacher’s ME WITHOUT YOU, and Andrew Fleming’s DICK.

On television, Williams starred opposite Chloë Sevigny in Martha Coolidge’s critically acclaimed HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk 2. She also had a six-year run as Jen Lindley on the WB's hit television series Dawson's Creek. The series premiered in 1998 and remained one of the WB's top-rated shows throughout its run.

On stage, Williams received glowing reviews for her portrayal of Varya in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She also achieved critical acclaim for her run in Mike Leigh's Smelling A Rat at the Samuel Beckett Theatre and her off-Broadway debut in Killer Joe.

Upcoming films for Williams include Sharon Maguire's INCENDIARY opposite Ewan McGregor, Lukas Moodysson’s MAMMOTH opposite Gael Garcia Bernal, and Derek Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE opposite Ryan Gosling. In addition to SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, Williams has a second film debuting at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Kelly Reichardt’s WENDY AND LUCY, which premieres in Un Certain Regard.

Williams is currently in production on Martin Scorsese’s SHUTTER ISLAND, with Leonardo DiCaprio.

CATHERINE KEENER

CATHERINE KEENER’s (Adele) string of acclaimed performances most recently included her Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated work in Sean Penn's INTO THE WILD. One of film’s busiest actors, she will soon be seen starring in Joe Wright’s THE SOLOIST, with Jamie Foxx; Spike Jonze’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE; Michael Winterbottom’s Genova; HAMLET 2 with Steve Coogan; and an untitled new film from writer/director Nicole Holofcener.

Ms. Keener's portrayal of To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee in Bennett Miller’s CAPOTE, in which she starred opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman in his Academy Award-winning performance, garnered her Academy Award, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, as well as the Toronto Film Critics Association's award for Best Supporting Actress. She was also honored for the performance, in tandem with her work in three other films that same year--Rebecca Miller’s THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE, Sydney Pollack's THE INTERPRETER, and Judd Apatow’s THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN--by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Her first Academy Award nomination came for her performance in Spike Jonze's BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (written by her SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK director Charlie Kaufman) which also earned her the New York Film Critics Circle’s award for Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

Ms. Keener has been nominated three times for an Independent Spirit Award, for Nicole Holofcener’s WALKING AND TALKING and LOVELY & AMAZING, and for Tom DiCillo’s JOHNNY SUEDE. She has since also starred for the latter director in LIVING IN OBLIVION, BOX OF MOONLIGHT, and THE REAL BLONDE. Her many other films include Nicole Holofcener’s FRIENDS WITH MONEY; Neil LaBute’s YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS; Steven Soderbergh’s OUT OF SIGHT and FULL FRONTAL; Michael Hacker’s THE DESTINY OF MARTY FINE; Tommy O’Haver’s AN AMERICAN CRIME, with Ellen Page;

Barry Levinson’s WHAT JUST HAPPENED?, which world-premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; and David O. Russell’s upcoming NAILED.

For television, Ms. Keener has made notable appearances in the telefilm If These Walls Could Talk (in the segment directed by Cher) and on Seinfeld. On stage, her credits include starring opposite Edward Norton in the Signature Theater Company's critically acclaimed off-Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson's Burn This.

EMILY WATSON (Tammy)

EMILY WATSON (Tammy) first caught the world’s attention playing “Bess” in Lars Von Trier’s BREAKING THE WAVES, her first feature film. For her performance, she received Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominations and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Felix Award for Best Actress, and the London Film Critics Circle Award for British Newcomer of the Year in 1997. She received her second Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, in addition to SAG and BAFTA nominations for Best Actress in 1999 for performance as “Jackie” in HILARY AND JACKIE.

Watson was most recently seen in Lifetime’s Television Movie THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, and will soon be seen in the ensemble drama FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN opposite Julia Roberts and Willem Dafoe. In 2006, Ms. Watson starred in MISS POTTER with Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. She was also a part of the ensemble cast of WAH-WAH, a family drama set in Swaziland in 1969 with Gabriel Byrne and Miranda Richardson, and appeared in THE PROPOSITION with Guy Pearce, Liam Neeson, and John Hurt. She followed with CRUSADE and the fantasy film THE WATER HORSE.

In 2005 Ms. Watson was featured Tim Burton’s Academy Award-nominated animated film CORPSE BRIDE. Ms. Watson also starred in SEPARATE LIES, with Tom Wilkinson and Rupert Everett. In addition, Ms. Watson received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as “Anne Sellers” in the critically acclaimed film THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS. Her additional feature film credits include Paul Thomas Anderson’s off-beat romantic comedy PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE in which she co-starred with Adam Sandler; RED DRAGON, the prequel to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, directed by Brett Ratner and co-starring Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes and Sir Anthony Hopkins; Robert Altman’s GOSFORD PARK; Tim Robbin’s CRADLE WILL ROCK; as the title character in Alan Parker’s ANGELA’S ASHES,; Alan Rudolph’s TRIXIE in which she starred with Nick Nolte. She also starred with John Turturro in THE LUZHIN DEFENSE, directed by Marleen Gorris, based on the Nobokov novel; Jim Sheridan’s THE BOXER with Daniel Day-Lewis; and METROLAND with Christian Bale, which is based on the Julian Barnes novel.

On television, Ms. Watson starred as Maggie Tulliver in the acclaimed BBC Masterpiece Theatre production of George Eliot’s “The Mill on the Floss”.

A veteran of the London stage, Ms. Watson’s theatre credits include Three Sisters, The Children’s Hour at the Royal National Theatre and The Lady From The Sea. In the Fall of 2002, Ms. Watson starred at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre in two concurrent productions, Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, both directed by Academy-Award winning director Sam Mendes. These critically acclaimed productions also ran in a very limited engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. She has also worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company in such productions as Jovial Crew, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well and The Changeling.

DIANNE WIEST (Ellen Bascomb/Millicent Weems)

DIANNE WIEST (Ellen Bascomb/Millicent Weems) was most recently on the New York stage in an acclaimed performance in The Seagull at Classic Stage Company. Other New York theatre appearances include Wendy Wasserstein’s Third, Memory House by Kathleen Tolan, Salome, Oedipus, The Shawl, Hunting Cockroaches, After the Fall, Beyond Therapy and The Art of Dining. Film credits include THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (Best Supporting Actress Oscar), RADIO DAYS, SEPTEMBER and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (Best Supporting Actresss Oscar), all by Woody Allen. She also appeared in PARENTHOOD (Oscar Nomination), EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and THE BIRDCAGE. She recently completed Charlie Kaufman’s movie Synecdoche, New York and the series “In Treatment.” Wiest most recently appeared in HBO’s In Treatment.

JENNIFER JASON LEIGH (Maria)

JENNIFER JASON LEIGH (Maria) first teamed with Charlie Kaufman when she starred in his sound play Anomalisa, which he wrote and directed at UCLA's Royce Hall. She first came to prominence as the heartbreakingly innocent teenager, Stacy, in Amy Heckerling's FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. Six years later she garnered the Best Supporting Actress Awards from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics for her portrayals in both Uli Edel's LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN and George Armitage's MIAMI BLUES.

Risky, complex, characters have become the signature of this actress who disappears chameleon-like into her roles. Jennifer has worked with many of the most fearless, maverick directors of our time. She starred in two films for Robert Altman--SHORT CUTS and KANSAS CITY, Joel and Ethan Coen’s THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, Barbet Schroeder's SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, David Cronenberg's EXISTENZ, Jane Campion’s IN THE CUT, Agnieszka Holland's WASHINGTON SQUARE, Sam Mendes's ROAD TO PERDITION and Ulu Grosbard's GEORGIA which she produced with the director, and for which she was honored again by the New York Film Critics Circle, this time with the Best Actress Award. Her performance also earned her The Montreal Film Festival Best Actress Award and her second Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Jennifer’s collaboration with Robert Altman continued when he selected her for the role of Dorothy Parker in his production of Alan Rudolph’s MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRCLE, a performance which won her a Golden Globe nomination, the Best Actress Awards from the National Society of Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics Association and her first Independent Spirit Award nomination. Her other films include: Lili Fini Zanuck’s RUSH, Ron Howard's BACKDRAFT, Chrisopher Guest's THE BIG PICTURE, Brad Anderson’s THE MACHINIST, Todd Solondz’s PALINDROMES. In 2000 she won The Best Actress Award at Tokyo's International Film Festival for the Dogma film THE KING IS ALIVE.

Jennifer made her writing and directorial debut in 2001 with the critically lauded, THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY she co-wrote, co-starred and co-directed with Alan Cumming. The Independent Spirit Awards honored the pair with Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay nominations, and the movie garnered a citation for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review.

Jennifer’s Broadway credits include Cabaret opposite Alan Cumming and directed by Sam Mendes and David Auburn's Proof. In 2006 Jennifer returned to the New York theatre for the American premiere of Mike Leigh's Abigail’s Party for The New Group. The performance earned her the Drama Desk and the Lucille Lortell Best Actress nominations.

Her impressive and diverse career has been honored with numerous retrospectives, including the prestigious American Cinematheque, Telluride Film Festival, and the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York. In 2002, the Film Society of Lincoln Center presented Leigh with its Young Friends of Film Honors. She recently starred in Noah Baumbach’s MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, opposite Nicole Kidman and Jack Black.

HOPE DAVIS (Madeleine Gravis)

HOPE DAVIS (Madeleine Gravis) recently teamed with writer/director Charlie Kaufman on his performed radio play Hope Leaves the Theatre, starring opposite Meryl Streep and Peter Dinklage. She was named 2003 Best Actress of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle for her work in two of that year's most critically acclaimed independent features – AMERICAN SPLENDOR, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, and THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS. She also won a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance in AMERICAN SPLENDOR (LA Film Critics' Best Picture of 2003), and also received an IFP Spirit Award nomination for her performance in THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS.

Davis first garnered critical attention for her work in a trio of independent hits -- Greg Mottola’s THE DAYTRIPPERS, Bart Freundlich’s THE MYTH OF FINGERPRINTS and Brad Anderson’s NEXT STOP WONDERLAND. Her filmography includes the black comedy THE MATADOR with Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan, written and directed by Richard Shepard; Gore Verbinski’s THE WEATHERMAN opposite Nicolas Cage; John Madden’s adaptation of David Auburn's Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play PROOF, opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhaal; DUMA, with Campbell Scott, for director Carroll Ballard ; Alexander Payne’s ABOUT SCHMIDT); “HEARTS IN ATLANTIS” opposite Anthony Hopkins; Campbell Scott’s FINAL; Stanley Tucci's Joe GOULD’S SECRET and THE IMPOSTERS; the political thriller ARLINGTON ROAD with Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins; and Lawrence Kasdan’s MUMFORD. Davis’s recent roles include Douglas McGrath’s INFAMOUS and “THE HOAX, directed by Lasse Hallström. Davis will also be seen in Michael Winterbottom’s GENOVA, starring Colin Firth and Catherine Keener and THE LODGER, opposite Alfred Molina. Most recently Davis wrapped shooting DRIVING LESSONS with Dermot Mulroney.

In addition to Camino Real at the famed Williamstown Theatre Festival, her other stage credits include Lincoln Center productions of Rebecca Gilman's Spinning Into Butter, Ivanov and Two Shakespearean Actors. Off-Broadway, Davis has appeared in Pterodactyls, The Food Chain, The Iceman Cometh and David Mamet’s Speed the Plow.

TOM NOONAN (Sammy)

TOM NOONAN (Sammy) previously worked with Charlie Kaufman in the sound play Anomalisa, which Kaufman wrote and directed and also starred David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Noonan has acted in nearly fifty film projects including MANHUNTER, LAST ACTION HERO, HEAT, ROBOCOP 2, THE PLEDGE, KNOCKAROUND GUYS, and the award winning shorts BULLET IN THE BRAIN by David Von Ancken and TOM GOES TO THE BAR by Dean Parisot. He also works now and again on TV, last being seen in The Beat and The Jury, both directed by Barry Levinson. He can be seen in the soon to be released Spirit Award nominated MADNESS AND GENIUS by Ryan Eslinger as well as David Gordon Green’s SNOW ANGEL, David Von Ancken’s SERAPHIM FALLS. He just completed work on WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, directed by Spike Jonze.

He also appeared in the original New York stage productions of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize winning Buried Child (Obie for Best Play), Michael Weller’s Split, F. X. Kroetz' Farmyard (Obie for Best Play), Harvey Fierstein’s Spookhouse, Len Jenkink’s Five of Us (Obie for Best Play), Herb Liebman's The Breakers, and A Poster of the Cosmos (another Obie winner), written for Mr. Noonan (and dedicated to him) by playwright Lanford Wilson.

As a filmmaker, Noonan has made three movies. His first, WHAT HAPPENED WAS... (1994) won the Grand Jury Prize at The Sundance Film Festival for best narrative feature, and he won the Waldo Salt Award for his screenplay. It also won the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Screenplay in 1995, and was distributed theatrically by the Goldwyn Company. His second feature, THE WIFE, was in competition at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival. It was released theatrically in 1996 and was named one the 10 Best Movies of the Decade by Art Forum Magazine. His third feature, WANG DANG, is slated for a 2008 release having premiered at the 2004 Hamptons Film Festival. Previous to his movies, Noonan worked extensively in New York theater as well as a director (and producer) in television.

In addition to writing his three features, Noonan has written over a thirty screenplays (five produced), forty teleplays (three produced), and an unpublished novel Must Have, and two collections of short stories, Agog and Amygdala. He was awarded the 1995 Obie Award for his play Wifey, and chosen a New York Foundation for the Arts Screenwriting Fellow in 1998 for his script BONE DADDY. He has also written more than two dozen plays, the last produced was What the Hell’s Your Problem?: An evening with Dr. Bob Nathelson. He has also written the scores and songs for numerous plays, independent movies (including all of his own) and television shows.

As a teacher, Noonan works out of his Paradise Theater Company/Genre Pictures Film Collective in Manhattan which is a center for the production of new American plays and independent films. He also teaches acting, writing, and directing as part of Choices Theatre Project, of which he is the Artistic Director. Tom is a frequent guest lecturer at universities here and abroad, and was a faculty member of Columbia University's graduate film department years 2000/2001 and Yale University, where he taught in 2002/2003. He is currently Professor of Film at New York University, both graduate and undergraduate.

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  Film Critic Michael Phillips Tasha Robinson Robert Abele on Video

Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips Tasha Robinson Robert Abele serves up his latest movie reviews on video.

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Synecdoche Movie Review Film Critic Michael Phillips Tasha Robinson Robert Abele Reviews Synecdoche
Synecdoche Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan
Synecdoche Movie Review, Movie Trailer, Movie Production Notes, Synopsis, About the Movie, About the Cast