clairebiddles’s review published on Letterboxd:
I hate when the main purpose of a film is to ‘get it’. I hate sitting down in front of a film knowing that the filmmaker wants me to untie the knot they’ve made in a specific way — it’s the least satisfying way to approach a film, or any art, for me. I think charlie kaufman wants I’m thinking of ending things to stay with us, to make us think about ~the human condition~. but stories and life and unexpected routes and authentic emotion are what make art linger, and there is nothing authentic here, nothing to connect to.
this is less a film, more a manipulative series of clues. everything is a hint or a double cross. is the editing supposed to be this bad or does is mean something? does charlie kaufman write awful dialogue or are we supposed to think that? I suppose murder mysteries are satisfying to watch like this, but not a relationship drama, or whatever this is trying be. not in a film where we’re supposed to, what, care about the characters? feel sorry for them? tie these hypothetical ideas to our own lives? is that what he’s saying about movies, and ideas, and how we’re all just an amalgamation of the things we like and think? I don’t care!
mainly it feels like kaufman just doesn’t give a shit about the audience? there’s no room for anyone else in this garbage movie. this is why I was so bummed out by the part where the two characters have a (TEN MINUTE LONG) conversation about a woman under the influence, one of many long, stylistically stilted academic discussions that all serve the exact same purpose. it seems pissy to care about a personal favourite filmmaker being namechecked in a film I don’t like. if john cassavetes was alive today, there is no doubt he would be taking a netflix cheque to make eg an adam sandler comedy sequel to fund a personal project. but it feels personally offensive that such a generous, open, exploratory filmmaker is being cited in a film that feels like a prison.
charlie kaufman went into this film knowing the answer, and gleefully withholding it from us. and who benefits from that? who fucking cares what this guy thinks? the only point of view he gives a shit about is his own, and it’s an extremely dull, insular and patronising point of view. worst film of the year.