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Overall Rating
4.39

Awesome69.88%
Worth A Look: 13.51%
Average: 8.11%
Pretty Bad: 3.09%
Total Crap: 5.41%

19 reviews, 145 user ratings


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Being John Malkovich
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by Scott Weinberg

"Something you don't see every day at the movies: Vision"
5 stars

Other than covering the basic plot in a rudimentary fashion, I refuse to expound upon anything that may detract from your own experience with this movie. That's not to say you'll necessarily love it, but it's one that you should see with no preconceived notions. Rarely do modern movies truly surprise, and shock is not the same as surprise. (Not even close, really.) How much you will enjoy Being John Malkovich depends on your own view of what celebrity is. If you're a big movie fan, however, I'm willing to bet you'll get a real kick out of this one.

I'll briefly take you through my thought processes as I watched this strange and fascinating movie:

A-John Cusack is one of America's most consistently entertaining actors. He's funny, he's real, we've watched him give good performances since he was a teen, without any type of Rob Lowe or Charlie Sheen silliness. Recall his performances in Say Anything..., The Sure Thing, Eight Men Out, The Grifters, Stand By Me, Money for Nothing, Pushing Tin, City Hall. OK, so these weren't all great movies, but hell, he made Con-Air somewhat human and he was in Better Off Dead!!! What more does an actor need to do?

B-Cameron Diaz can actually act! Seriously. I was shocked as well. Being a heterosexual male, I find it difficult to see anything past her sky-blue angels' eyes and her adorbale nose and her firm, pert......aaaaaggghhhhhhhh. Sorry, but I guess that's why they 'freaked her up' a bit for her role here. She is almost unrecognizable and her performance blossoms because of it.

C-Catherine Keener is the coolest thing in a long time with her performance this movie. This relatively-unknown actress (Walking and Talking, Your Friends and Neighbors, Out of Sight, Living in Oblivion) almost steals the whole damn movie. Her Maxine is the focal point of every scene she's in, and it's because of her. She commands your attention every time she says something, and that's OK, because she has some of the best lines in a damn funny screenplay.

D-John Malkovich may not be the best actor alive today, but he can now claim to be the bravest. He bares a lot here, and I hear Oscar smooching his butt. Regarding his performance, the less said the better. Damn, you all know how cool Malkovich is. You don't need me telling you. I hope.

E-The plot is so brazenly and obviously ridiculous that you immediately feel in on the joke. Craig and Lotte are a middle-class married couple. He's an unemployed puppeteer and she runs an animal shop. (Which helps explain why their apartment looks like a petting zoo.) When Craig begins working as a filer at LesterCorp he meets Maxine. He then discovers a very small door in his office that leads to inside John Malkovich. You can see everything Malkovich sees for fifteen minutes. Boom. That's all you're getting out of me, and all that stuff happens in the first 20 minutes, so you can uncover your eyes now.

F-Spike Jonze (director) and Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter)should always make movies together. I found it mind-boggling that this movie wasn't written and directed by the same person. That sounds silly, but this movie is seamless. It's great to see when filmmakers are on the same page on what movie they want to make, and then succeed so well. Again, to divulge details is to rob you of your experience, but suffice to say you'll laugh when you should, and there's some real emotion and brains at work here.

G-Sometimes, less is more. Up to this point, you may have the impression that this is a perfect movie. It isn't. There are some unnecessary exposition scenes, and some of the humor is a little too broad at times when it seems restraint might more be in order. Maybe the final act sags a little here or there. But these are minor complaints when presented with something new and actually worth discovering. It's a movie that you'll want to hear other opinions about, and that's one of the best kinds.

It has a subtle and honest flashlight shined right in the face of fame and celebrity, and it's up to you to judge what you see. It's really a brave and original movie, and I suspect it will also become a cult favorite. It's an intelligent and funny gift for moviegoers. Hell, I'd like to be Malkovich for fifteen minutes, wouldn't you?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1352&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/30/99 16:41:28
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User Comments

1/05/14 mr.mike I found it OK at best. 3 stars
3/08/13 David Hollingsworth A unique, weird, and stunning film. 5 stars
7/10/11 Cane Toad Anyone who rates this with one star is a moron. 5 stars
6/14/10 Beth Terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible? Terrible! 1 stars
6/14/10 Tyler Sciortino Beautiful. 5 stars
3/29/10 Cody Burdette The average person cannot follow and take in the movie and all of its twists in one viewing 4 stars
10/23/09 Maxx87 Well, first it was thought that black children needed to be around white children to learn. 5 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT DESCENDS DISAPPOINTINGLY FROM HILLARIOUS WHIMSY INTO BLEAK REPELLANCE 1 stars
2/02/08 Quigley One of the coolest ideas for a movie ever created. This film is a must-see experience 5 stars
9/29/07 Derek In My top 10. Loved this Really Weird Masterpiece. 5 stars
6/26/07 fools♫gold I prickishly severely underrated "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"! 5 stars
6/18/07 mb Of Very Low Mind 1 stars
4/04/07 Double M Wow.. brilliant screenplay, Cusack and Malkovich here are incredible. Total mindf*ck.. 5 stars
3/20/07 Stanley Thai Great movie! Presents every twist and turns! 5 stars
3/08/07 R.W.Welch Strong at the start but slowly loses momentum. B- 4 stars
2/15/07 david morin i could make a a better movie filming a bucket of shit 1 stars
11/18/06 Brad Bourland An amazing , unexpected vision, and some of the best acting John Cusack has ever done. 5 stars
9/07/06 Jarkko Perälä One of the best comedies ever made 5 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor Amazing screenplay. One of the best of 1999. John Malkovich is in an Oscar-worthy role. 5 stars
8/11/05 ES Thank goodness I'm not the only one who detested this waste of time abomination 1 stars
8/06/05 Zack Very good film. 5 stars
7/31/05 yuko must see. smart and unique 5 stars
6/28/05 R another "comedy" that's not ACTUALLY funny, but plays quirky so no one notices. 1 stars
5/10/05 Indrid Cold Clever but not much else. 3 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson Amazing and original piece of work. CATHERINE KEENER IS TERRIFIC. I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/06/04 Kris Larsen The worst film I have ever seen! I'd rate it with negative stars. 1 stars
10/04/04 Josh Standlee It was outstanding! I'm blown away by its originality! 5 stars
9/25/04 Agent Sands The genuine originality of this movie is almost a gimmick. 4 stars
8/16/04 Peter James A brilliant screenplay and one of the best of 1999 5 stars
1/17/04 John obvious points pretentiously recycled - no thanks 1 stars
11/25/03 Carl Handratty I hope you don't get paid for this, Slyder. You suck. she doesn't like puppeteers, don't" 5 stars
11/04/03 Charles Tatum Interesting in a weird way 4 stars
10/30/03 Moparman I heard this movie was good. Bought it on PPV. What a piece of crap. BORING!!!! 1 stars
10/12/03 laura paterson pure genius! 5 stars
7/31/03 Nicole Very original 5 stars
4/08/03 Mystique Malkovich!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Overpraised crapola. Eccentricty bereft of wit and substance. Perfs are 2nd-rate. 1 stars
3/10/03 Nevz MALKOVICH!!! 5 stars
3/03/03 John Malkovich! Malkovich! Malkovich! 4 stars
1/22/03 Jen (probably) chemically enhanced masterpiece 5 stars
12/08/02 Kable Well made and well acted, excellent script but by the end I was sick 4 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Funniest Film of 1999. 5 stars
9/13/02 Gracy Lionheart Ok, Visionary movies are all right, but this isn't one of them in my book. 1 stars
9/03/02 Shannon GAG! A yawnfest. Tries too hard and fails. 1 stars
8/28/02 Bob MacBryce Overrated but still a pretty good movie 4 stars
6/11/02 Snorfle Overrated. 2 stars
6/09/02 Akira_773 Completely overrated. 2 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Dark & depressing....but VERY funny! 5 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee Original, funny.......basically flawless. Beautifully acted 5 stars
1/17/02 Flick Chick who'd wanna be malkovich even for a nano-second? he's butt ugly. 1 stars
11/16/01 John This was much better than American Beauty 5 stars
11/02/01 Connoisseur original, sometimes funny, but often dull and confusing 4 stars
8/29/01 Sarah I felt my life draining out of me, what was this crap? 1 stars
8/29/01 Gary The slow pace was disappointing, but still an original and funny movie. 4 stars
5/28/01 J Overrated & disappointing but not a bad movie. BETTER OFF DEAD is still cusack's best movie 3 stars
4/11/01 the?girl haven't stopped thinking about this movie since I saw it last night. Brilliant and original 5 stars
3/19/01 J.Arcane Where was it's fucking Oscars? 5 stars
3/06/01 Scott Definately not for everyone but I found it to be very fresh and intriguing. 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Wild, outrageous, profound, one-of-a-kind comedy 5 stars
2/20/01 Mark Tucker Good to see something different from America. It works and is damn good too 5 stars
2/01/01 Dan Waldman Thouroughly original, unpredictable & funny. 5 stars
2/01/01 Vivien Leung inventive, bizarre and special 5 stars
1/22/01 jmr one of the most interesting and inventive movies ever 5 stars
12/27/00 the Grinch Different? Yes. Good? Ehhhh.... 3 stars
12/01/00 Charlie it's fuckin' genius man! 5 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head Superb, original story which has wonderful acting/directing..One of the best of the 90s. 5 stars
11/14/00 Elvisfan Not that big a deal, not that clever, certainly not that funny, but not horrible either 3 stars
11/12/00 biggun great script - could have been great with a different director 3 stars
10/13/00 Fishsticks Brilliant and unmissable. Watch the roof..... 5 stars
9/10/00 SmokeSerpent Kickass 5 stars
9/09/00 neilb weird idea, but pulled off brilliantly 5 stars
9/09/00 Jed The cast was mostly good it is kinda funny but overall seriously overrated. 3 stars
9/01/00 Rosenberg One of the most sureal, funny movies of the year, until the end. 5 stars
7/27/00 Overflow Bitch Wow !!! Thoroughly entertaining !! 5 stars
5/16/00 Jenifer BEST MOVIE I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME 5 stars
5/09/00 Monday Morning Fresh, original, superbitchin'! 5 stars
4/28/00 Jason Kallelis As messed up as it is awesome. Very impressive. 5 stars
4/24/00 Matt Sabian Excellent! Very different, but many ways to view it. Best movie seen in a LONG time. 5 stars
4/10/00 Add Good not great, over rated but worth seeing just because it tries 2b different 4 stars
3/27/00 perverted pixie Outstandingly original! The cinema audience were all utterly enchanted 5 stars
3/24/00 Lesley so different - got me sucked in 4 stars
3/01/00 PhilmPhreak Different and interesting 4 stars
2/17/00 Starla Wow! Very unconventional and surprising. Somehow just manages to keep from falling apart. 4 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman anything this different can't be bad, can it? 5 stars
2/10/00 MarshyMan So intelligent, funny, detailed and outstandingly entertaining its in a class of its own. 5 stars
2/09/00 Matthew Smith even funnier the second time around 5 stars
2/08/00 shawn B Best movie of the year 5 stars
2/07/00 Jennifer Weng You have J. M. in it and it's great, make it about him and it's unbelieveable!!! Awesome!!! 5 stars
1/28/00 Jono Nicholas Absolutely Brilliant 5 stars
1/18/00 Stephanie Bond Brilliant but totally tripped out 5 stars
1/17/00 Mic Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich?(Being John Malkovich?) Malkovich Malkovich!(Awesome movie!) 5 stars
1/15/00 Movie Maniac - Kev Weirdest movie, a LOT of unsaid insight, thoughts. Not what I expected - brilliant. 4 stars
1/12/00 Leslie This was quite entertaining. An offbeat movie, which made it great. 5 stars
1/06/00 Chris Wheeler Malkovich? 5 stars
1/06/00 Chuck Puchala Malkovich!!!! 5 stars
1/06/00 Chris Wheeler Malkovich? 5 stars
1/05/00 Joel Harwood ONE OF 2000 BEST 5 stars
1/02/00 Nice Guy Eddie Best movie of the year. Go see this before it leaves the theatres! 5 stars
12/29/99 jenn "Blu Smrf" this is the greatest movie i have seen in years, totally awsome, hell yeah!!! 5 stars
12/28/99 Matthew Smith Hilariously funny and exhilarating, not to be missed 5 stars
12/28/99 Malbert The most creative movie I have seen all year, totally awesome! 5 stars
12/27/99 anna mak the most interesting and original film in ages 5 stars
12/18/99 Zeitgeist The writers of this film are either creative geniuses or are on large quantities of LSD 5 stars
12/18/99 Dick Laurent Very creative film! Reminded me on Terry Gilliam's "Brazil"! 5 stars
12/17/99 Heather If only there were more freaky movies like this, loved the hilarious sex scenes 5 stars
12/17/99 Fork Thinking man's freakazoid. Who are you? Who cares? Good question. 4 stars
12/09/99 [KingMob] Dwah.. one of the trippyest movies of the year. 5 stars
12/08/99 JonnyAngel Being Jon Jackson, now that would be a movie!! 5 stars
12/07/99 Demure33 This movie raves with imagination & if you look closely, metaphysics 5 stars
12/06/99 Ami the wonderbread If only I could be JOhn Malkovich for 15 minutes! Fantastic! 5 stars
12/02/99 Carlos G. Lamas Fall '99 will be remembered for mind trips in cinema, and "Malkovich" will top the list. 5 stars
11/30/99 Queen of the Amazon Vamps The greatest part of this movie is women fucking women as men! Suck my dick too ;) 5 stars
11/25/99 Mr. X Had some amazing parts, had some sloppy parts. 5 stars
11/24/99 Ryan Philippe gets hit by a car and it rules Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Fuck the King of Bros. Malkovich Malkovich Eat Me Malkovich 5 stars
11/23/99 Fenris Psychotic and amusing at the same time. 5 stars
11/22/99 Susan Thought I'd love it; ended up hating it. 3 stars
11/22/99 Mickey More Almost too smart for it's own good. Great idea, carried out very well. 4 stars
11/21/99 Being Michael Browne One of the best-tasting slices of brilliance ever manifested into film 5 stars
11/21/99 Amy Fucking fantastic. I've never seen anything like it. 5 stars
11/20/99 JJ Oh what a mind fuck--and I liked it 5 stars
11/19/99 Kriperace Short menu, but very tasty! 5 stars
11/16/99 Adam Wow. Lotta stuff here - Spike Jonze has proven himself to the big boys. 5 stars
11/16/99 Joel twisted and sick as hell! I love it! 5 stars
11/15/99 Zeitgeist MalkovichMalkovichMalkovichMalkovichMalkovichMalkovichMalkovich 5 stars
11/14/99 MrShowbiz Unique, fantastic, a must see. 5 stars
11/13/99 keeba Awesome puppetry! the most original movie i've seen all year. 5 stars
11/13/99 joe chip What? No puppeteers in the classifieds! 5 stars
11/13/99 El Tigre Very original, but flawed. The characters are quirky beyond the point of being relatable. 3 stars
11/12/99 Matt Highly original and entertaining. 5 stars
11/09/99 Glitter Berry Don't stand in the way of my realization as a man! 5 stars
11/09/99 Marble Xavier Hillarious -- the blackest of black comedy, perfect cast. 5 stars
11/08/99 Dax I'll never look at John Malkovich the same way again... 5 stars
11/08/99 Robert Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich!!! 5 stars
11/08/99 entropy weird. a must see. 5 stars
11/07/99 sydney Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it! 5 stars
11/06/99 Dave This movie rules! I gotta see it again! 5 stars
11/05/99 Bob Maybe the most amazing movie of all time. 5 stars
11/03/99 theguy totally subversive, fuck-with-your-head brilliance, and amazing acting 5 stars
11/02/99 Billie Truly great fun, can't wait to see it a second time 5 stars
11/02/99 pipeman The most amazingly unique movie in years. Don't let anyone tell you about it before you go. 5 stars
11/01/99 watthree Loved it. This movie is completely original. 5 stars
10/31/99 JSM Not a perfect film, not even necessarily great, but one that will expand your POV - d't mis 5 stars
10/26/99 Robin Defies words...must see...again & again 5 stars
10/25/99 jillian george Extraordinary, the cinema is shifting to the aesoteric personalism it was destined to be 5 stars
10/23/99 nootch This has to be the weirdest movie I have ever seen! You can't help but laugh out loud... 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Oct-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-1999




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