Being John Malkovich

Released 11/19/99                              Rated: R

This movie was weird. And I’ve seen some weird movies.

[SPOILERS Skip to next paragraph] So… a puppeteer down on his luck gets a job on the 7 ½ floor of an office building. (all right.) In his office he discovers a secret door that is a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich. (interesting…) Upon going through the portal, puppeteer’s wife discovers she’s hot for puppeteer’s coworker and vice a versa as John Malkovich.………) Puppeteer takes over John Malkovich like a puppet so that he can love his coworker and spend his life with her, not his wife. (WTH?) Changes Malkovich from an actor to a puppeteer to achieve his aspirations of being a world famous puppeteer. (yeah, about that…) There was a reason the portal was hidden. Turns out a bunch of old people intend to prolong their life through Malkovich and are awaiting the appropriate time to enter the portal. Puppeteer loses everything when the old people make him give up Malkovich, his coworker wife leaves him for his previous wife, and he’s back to being a nobody. (…lose the f-ed up love whatever-it-is and I might watch this again.)

Everyone in this movie wishes they had more, and they each find a way to get it through John Malkovich. Craig mainly wants appreciation for his puppeteering skills, ergo changing Malkovich’s profession from acting to puppeterring. He also wants Maxine. Lotte wants a family. Actually throughout most of the movie she wants Maxine, which she gets through becoming Malkovich. Maxine feels she deserves more than the sh*& hole where she is, so she starts dating Malkovich. But not the real one; first it was Lotte-Malkovich, and then Craig-Malkovich. And Lester wants to prolong his life by using Malkovich as a vessel in which to do that. To everyone in this movie Malkovich is just a tool to get what they want because they feel they deserve more out of life. Money, love, longer life, fame; all at the expense of this poor schmuck. The man just wants to be left alone!

Best part of this movie was when John Malkovich went through the portal. He ends up in his subconscious, which was a restaurant full of himselves. They all talked and had normal conversations, but the only word anyone said was his last name. “Malkovich Malkovich?” Brilliant!

I’m going to go on a little rant here. With all due respect, what were the voters of the Academy on when they nominated Catherine Keener for Best Supporting Actress? I did not like her character almost from the start. Something just rubbed me the wrong way. She wasn’t ladylike, and she wasn’t redeemable; the only thing she was was selfish. She said she loved Lotte, but she utterly did not care when it switched from Lotte to Craig controlling Malkovich. She was now dating somebody famous, and that’s all that mattered to her. And I’m supposed to believe her “happily ever after” portion of the ending? Sorry, not doing. I saw no depth to her character and definitely no special acting ability whatsoever. Cameron Diaz deserved a nomination more so than she did! It just floors me.

If you like crazy weird movies, give this one a shot. I went into this completely blind, and it definitely took me on a trip.

This entry was posted in drama, fantasy, R and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Being John Malkovich

  1. Wow! Phenomenal post. I especially love your analysis on how the primary characters only used Malkovich as a tool for their own desires with no appreciation for his well-being. Just thinking about the fact that he clearly objected to be used this way directly to the characters before they took over him entirely just adds more disgust to their characters.

    I agree, this movie was very weird, and uncomfortable at times. Still, with a bit of time past since last watching it, I do like the movie, if nothing else than for it simply existing. It’s an astonishing character study for all characters involved. I think it has a lot to say about how media uses celebrities to act out their dreams, even if this is far less subtle of a point to make.

    While I understand how the film’s weirdness turned you off of its appeal, I find the movie all the more intriguing because of it. I mean, this movie came out in the late 90’s. Can you imagine any movie like it? Would anyone even bother to make this kind of weird movie today? There is a lot of guts behind this movie and I think it is a great example of a film being a product of it’s time. There is a character and uniqueness to it that is undeniable and would certainly be lost if made at any other time in history.

    Katherine’s character is a terrible one, but necessary I feel. I think her acting gets better as the movie progressed though. She is certainly the worst in this movie. Kudos to Malkovich for pulling off such a wide variety of characters. He effectively plays every character in the movie.

    Fantastic review!

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