Ebert names ‘Synecdoche’ the decade’s best

Posted by · 8:22 am · December 31st, 2009

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Synecdoche, New YorkI’m happy to see the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert is bold enough to tap something like Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” as the best film of the decade.  His list on the whole is rather singular, I found, which is also refreshing.

Of his number one pick, he says:

“Synecdoche, New York” is the best film of the decade. It intends no less than to evoke the strategies we use to live our lives. After beginning my first viewing in confusion, I began to glimpse its purpose and by the end was eager to see it again, then once again, and I am not furnished. Charlie Kaufman understands how I live my life, and I suppose his own, and I suspect most of us. Faced with the bewildering demands of time, space, emotion, morality, lust, greed, hope, dreams, dreads and faiths, we build compartments in our minds. It is a way of seeming sane.

That’s a wonderful way of summing up the work of Charlie Kaufman, who I recently called the “filmmaker of the decade.”  His is perhaps the most penetrating and insightful work in the medium today.  Check out the rest of Ebert’s list here.




→ 13 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

13 responses so far

  • 1 12-31-2009 at 8:29 am

    James D. said...

    At least he sticks to his guns on Juno and Crash, as abhorrent of picks I think of them to be.

    I need to see Silent Light again. Everyone from Ebert to A.O Scott to Hartigan continue to rave about it.

  • 2 12-31-2009 at 9:08 am

    david said...

    I found Synecdoche New York both incomprehensible, and depressing. I definitely think Kaufman should stick to writing, and leave the directing to others.

  • 3 12-31-2009 at 9:08 am

    cineJAB said...

    Awful movie, just this guy’s opinion.

  • 4 12-31-2009 at 10:02 am

    meli said...

    I agree with David. Though I admire Kaufman’s work greatly, this is a difficult film to love and isn’t that what topping a list is about? I felt mentally drained and physically exhausted leaving the theater.

  • 5 12-31-2009 at 10:17 am

    Richard said...

    It was my #1 of 2008.

  • 6 12-31-2009 at 11:08 am

    Craig said...

    I wasn’t a big fan of Synecdoche, but Juno is by far the worst pick in his top ten.

  • 7 12-31-2009 at 2:11 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    I’m with Richard on this. “Synecdoche, New York” was my number one of 2008 with a bullet, and it easily makes my top ten of the decade.

  • 8 12-31-2009 at 3:28 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I don’t know. “Synecdoche” is an interesting, even fascinating film, but it’s such a damn mess and comes off like rambling stream-of-consciousness mental diarrhea that feels sorely in need of a real director’s guidance.

  • 9 12-31-2009 at 8:14 pm

    Glenn said...

    I coulda sworn he named “25th Hour” as his top pick a few weeks back.

  • 10 12-31-2009 at 8:31 pm

    R.J. said...

    As much as I admired “Synecdoche, New York”, I have to say it doesn’t have a spot on my list. I’m going to have to pop the dvd in a few more times to fully appreciate it, but it definitely elicited an emotional response from me, which is weird because I had no idea what the hell was going on half the time. Still, there were films that affected me on a greater level after one viewing so they place higher for me, but there’s no denying that “Synecdoche” is a dazzling piece of work.

  • 11 1-01-2010 at 8:22 am

    Patricia said...

    I’ve been reading Roger Ebert’s reviews longer than some of you have been alive, I suspect. We’ve had our major disagreements and continue to (5* for “Knowing”? Really??) But I read with satisfaction his number one movie of the decade, “Synecdoche, New York”. For those of you struggling to like it, may I suggest you give it up…at least for a few years. I’m been lambasted for saying this but I am going to repeat. Enjoyment and appreciation of this film requires one to be in a certain place in your life. Roger and I are at that place. Roger’s summary of why he has elevated this film to #1 spot is absolutely spot on. It’s why I continue to read his column, even though he persists in trumpeting “Juno”.

  • 12 1-01-2010 at 12:43 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Bad Lieutenant is really one of Ebert’s favorite movies of the past ten years? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie a lot, but I don’t really agree with that or see it as the masterpiece that Ebert obviously does. Oh well.

    At least his list is more original than most.