Movie review: Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich gets tied into other philosophical movies, like Waking Life, Blade Runner, Dark City, ... yet there's also a very strong message behind the movie, that truly anyone could learn from. (Again, description care of Netflix.)

Take a hallucinogenic trip minus the drugs but with all the fun. Puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) discovers a door that's in fact a portal into actor John Malkovich's brain. For 15 minutes, Schwartz experiences the ultimate head trip: He's John Malkovich! More wacky adventure ensues when Schwartz plans to sell trips into Malkovich's brain for $200 a pop. Not your average comedy!

First, with the rating, since there's bound to be spoilers. I rate Being John Malkovich five stars, with no question in my mind, and I would certainly watch this film again.

The obvious philosophical connection within this film (obvious, since the main character specifically speaks of it) is identity. John Malkovich's mind is taken over by another, yet people still believe he is John Malkovich, even though he changes careers. Are we our bodies, or what we do, or what we think, or what we have experienced? And if I become a different person, what if I'm the only one that knows that? Can we be the same, and different? Put slightly different, can we change yet be the same?

But with Craig, the main character, we seem to learn at the end of the movie that we can't change who we are. We may put on a suit that we like to wear, but when it boils down to it, we're still who we are. We also may put on a suit for other people, but that does not mean that we are that suit, or that who people believe we are, is what we in fact are.

Of course, I haven't mentioned the good Dr. at all, but I don't think I really need to ...

Rated: R
1 hr 52 min
1999

Want to see what else I've watched through Netflix? Check out the list, and my attempt to track Netflix shipping for Madison WI.