IMDb Polls

Poll: 1999: An Existential Journey

1999 was quite an exhausting existential journey, featuring many stories whose protagonists questioned the meaning of their existence, rebelled against the alienation of modernity, went into drastic changes in their lives or engaged themselves in harrowing, sometimes tragic, sometimes insightful, but always fascinating, existential quests.

Simply said, which 1999 'existential' film fascinated you the most?

After voting, you may discuss the list here

The texts are all excerpts from the reviews of the late Roger Ebert, to whom this poll is dedicated.

Make Your Choice

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    Fight Club (1999)

    Alienation I: "It is about freeing yourself from the shackles of modern life, which imprisons and emasculates men. By being willing to give and receive pain and risk death, Fight Club members find freedom [...] a telling point about the bestial nature of man and what can happen when the numbing effects of day-to-day drudgery cause people to go a little crazy."
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    American Beauty (1999)

    Alienation II: "A man who fears growing older, losing the hope of true love and not being respected by those who know him best [...] chooses to, burning up the future years of an empty lifetime for a few flashes of freedom. He may have lost everything by the end of the film, but he's no longer a loser."
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    Office Space (1999)

    Alienation III: "Office Space" suggests that regular employment is even worse, because it's a life sentence. Asked to describe his state of mind to the therapist, Peter says, "Since I started working, every single day has been worse than the day before, so that every day you see me is the worst day of my life."
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    Being John Malkovich (1999)

    Identity I: "Spend a lifetime being yourself and it would be worth money to spend 15 minutes being almost anybody else. [...] Lotte finds herself inside his mind while Maxine is seducing him. Lotte enjoys this experience and decides she wants to become a lesbian, or a man. Whatever it takes. "
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    Boys Don't Cry (1999)

    Identity II: "She is not a transsexual, a lesbian, a cross-dresser, or a member of any other category on the laundry list of sexual identities; she is a girl who thinks of herself as a boy. The whole story can be explained this way: Most everybody in it behaves exactly according to their natures.[...] it's a sad song about a free spirit who tried to fly a little too close to the flame."
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    Magnolia (1999)

    Retrospection I: "People earnestly and single-mindedly immersed in their lives, hopes and values, as if their best-laid plans were not vulnerable to the chaotic interruptions of the universe. It's humbling to learn that existence doesn't revolve around us; worse to learn it revolves around nothing."
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    Toy Story 2 (1999)

    Retrospection II: "You never forget kids, but they forget you,'' Buzz sighs, but he argues for the position that it is better to be loved for the length of a childhood than admired forever behind glass in a museum. [...] His Woody has, indeed, grown into quite a philosopher. His thoughts about life, love and belonging to someone are kind of profound"
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    Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

    Retrospection III: "Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut'' is like an erotic daydream about chances missed and opportunities avoided [...] The film has two running jokes, both quiet ones: Almost everyone who sees Bill, both male and female, reacts to him sexually. And he is forever identifying himself as a doctor, as if to reassure himself that he exists at all."
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    The Straight Story (1999)

    Retrospection IV: "Alvin's journey to his brother is a journey into his past. He remembers when they were young and filled with wonder. [...] And about years lost to drinking and nastiness. He has emerged from the forge of his imperfections as a better man, purified, simple, and people along the way seem to sense that."
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    The Matrix (1999)

    Virtuality I: "They've made a fundamental discovery about the world: It doesn't exist. It's actually a form of Virtual Reality, designed to lull us into lives of blind obedience to the "system." We obediently go to our crummy jobs every day, little realizing, as Morpheus tells Neo, that "Matrix is the wool that has been pulled over your eyes--that you are a slave."
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    eXistenZ (1999)

    Virtuality II: "When you're hooked up, you can't tell the game from reality [...] "eXistenZ'' arrives a few weeks after "The Matrix,'' another science-fiction movie about characters who find themselves inside a universe created by virtual reality [...] but it creates a world where organic and inorganic are not separate states, but kind of chummy.
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    The Green Mile (1999)

    Life & Death I:"I can explain in Coffey's own words what he does with the suffering he encounters: "I just took it back, is all." How he does that and what the results are, all set up the film's ending--in which we are reminded of another execution some 2,000 years ago."
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    Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

    Life & Death II:"The Cage character ventures out every night into a sea of suffering, with little hope he can really make much of a difference: "I came to realize that my work was less about saving lives than about bearing witness." In an age of irony, Scorsese and Schrader refuse to stand back from their existential themes, but plunge in without compromise."
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    The Sixth Sense (1999)

    Life & Death III: "It is Crowe's task to reach this boy and heal him [...] but Crowe himself is suffering, in part because his wife, once so close, now seems to be drifting into an affair and doesn't seem to hear him when he talks to her. [...] there is a poignancy in his bewilderment. The film opens with [...] the beginning of his professional decline. He goes down with a sort of doomed dignity."
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    All About My Mother (1999)

    Life & Death IV: "Manuela journeys to Barcelona to inform Esteban's father of the son's death. [...] In the film, grieving relatives are asked to allow the organs of their loved ones to be used; later Manuela plays the same scene for real, as she's asked to donate her own son's heart. [...]The Barcelona scenes reflect Almodovar's long-standing interest in characters who cross the gender divide. Esteban's father is now a transvestite prostitute."