Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Ever wanted to be someone else?  Now you can.  That was the tagline for the 1999 dark comedy, “Being John Malkovich”, starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, & John Malkovich.  The basic setting of the film pretty much takes place ‘inside the brain of actor John Horatio Malkovich’.

The plot summary for this film is pretty simple, it is about a puppeteer, Craig Schwartz (played by John Cusack), who gets a desk job on the 7½ floor at an office building.  One day, while he is filing papers, one drops behind the cabinet.  This causes Craig to move the cabinet in order to retrieve the paper.  As he does this, he notices a small door in the wall.  Curious, he enters the portal, which leads him directly inside the head of John Horatio Malkovich (played by John Malkovich).  After about 15 minutes, he is ejected onto the side of the highway.  This gives Craig & his coworker, Maxine Lund (played by Catherine Keener), the idea to start charging people a small fee in order to experience what it’s like to be Malkovich.  Upset with what’s going on, the real John Malkovich stops in to confront them to tell them that he wants to try it.  Unfortunately, it turns out to be nightmare for him.

One aspect of the filmmaking, which really caught my attention, was the superb acting done in this film.  I thought that John Malkovich did a wonderful job of not only playing himself, but also having to act like someone else was controlling his brain.  I was surprised yet thrilled when seeing Lotte Schwartz (played by Cameron Diaz), as she really changed her look for this film.  I found the character of Maxine to be a naughty woman, almost like a she-devil.  Finally, I liked, yet, felt empathy for Craig.  I liked him, as he was just the average Joe trying to earn a living.  Then again, I felt empathy for Craig, especially towards the end of the film.

The other aspect of the film, which I enjoyed, was the editing.  One of the parts of the movie, which spring to mind, is when John Malkovich confronts Craig & Lotte & tells them that he wants in.  Once he enters, not only do Malkovich’s surround him everywhere, but also the only thing they say is, “Malkovich”.  Also, when he looks at the menu, every item is “Malkovich.”  This causes him to panic & run away.  The other part of the editing I liked, was when Lotte is chasing Maxine, as both are inside Malkovich’s brain.  As Lotte is chasing Maxine, they go through different stages of Malkovich’s life.

My overall reaction to this film was that I pleasantly enjoyed it.  I thought the plot of the film was very original & very entertaining.  I also found the movie to be great, despite the fact that it doesn’t rely on a lot of special effects.  I recommend this movie for not only psychology classes, but for film classes as well.

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