A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Puppeteer Craig Schwartz and animal lover and pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz are just going through the motions of their marriage. Despite not being able to earn a living solely through puppeteering, Craig loves his profession as it allows him to inhabit the skin of others. He begins to take the ability to inhabit the skin of others to the next level when he is forced to take a job as a file clerk for the off-kilter LesterCorp, located on the five-foot tall 7½ floor of a Manhattan office building. Behind one of the filing cabinets in his work area, Craig finds a hidden door which he learns is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich, the visit through the portal which lasts fifteen minutes after which the person is spit into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig is fascinated by the meaning of life associated with this finding. Lotte's trips through the portal make her evaluate her own self. And the confident Maxine Lund, one of Craig's co-workers who he tells about the ...Written by
Catherine Keener disliked her own character. "I wasn't who I saw for the part of Maxine," she told The New York Times. "She was sexy and bold, and I didn't really like her." See more »
When Craig sees John's face for the first time in the mirror, the mirror doesn't accurately reflect John's point of view. See more »
Craig, honey, it's time for bed.
[fade out and in]
Orrin Hatch the bird:
Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up,
I'm sorry. I didn't know Orrin Hatch was out of his cage.
See more »
at the end of the cast listing is noted ...and John Malkovich See more »
"You don't know how lucky you are being a monkey. Because consciousness is a terrible curse."
This film has a densely layered plot with plenty of insight into the human mind. John Malkovich is a vessel literally and metaphorically. The discovery of the portal amplifies the true nature of each character. Craig, the puppeteer, craves the acceptance of the public for his talent. Lotte, his wife, lives to care for her animals but ultimately wants a child. Maxine, the woman both Lotte and Craig claim to love, believes her beauty is worth the status she lacks. Malkovich is the means by which they believe happiness is possible.
Being John Malkovich is very applicable to this digital age of live celebrity updates and involvement with the public. Many wish they were someone who had more freedom to do whatever they wanted in their relationships, profession, and overall life. Craig, Lotte, and Maxine are all out for themselves: seeing Malkovich as an opportunity and not a human being. Walking in someone else's shoes is traditionally viewed as a chance to understand another person, but in this case it is exploited for narcissistic agendas. Only one character in the movie has true compassion for other human beings, and it is Elijah, their pet monkey.
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