Blue Valentine is a movie I've been reading about for over a year now, and while that's true about a lot of smaller films, what people said about Blue Valentine stood out to me -- critics chillingly claimed they couldn't shake what they'd seen, or that the movie stuck with them for months after viewing it. Naturally, I assumed it had some horrifying scene in it, especially once the MPAA tried to slap an NC-17 on it in October (they were compelled by the Weinsteins to change their minds two months later), but now that I've seen it, I know that that's not the case. It is hard to shake this movie, but it isn't because of any gore or sexually explicit act. It stays with you because it's brutally honest in a way that few films bother to be. Sounds hyperbolic, I know, but it's true.
You know you're in for a mind-bendy metapalooza when you go to see a Charlie Kaufman movie. Since capturing the hearts of critics with his dizzying dark comedy Being John Malkovich nearly a decade ago, Kaufman has been fairly consistent in his subject matter, bringing his distinctly dreamy surrealism to meditations on love, identity, art, fame and mortality. His latest, Synecdoche, New York, is a continuation of this odyssey, though infinitely bleaker and, if possible, even more complex to unravel than his previous offerings. As a friend put it perfectly when we left the two-hours-plus screening, by comparison it makes Adaptation seem like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.