Monday, February 27, 2006


(scr. Charles & Donald Kaufmann, dir. Spike Jonze)

"Adaptation's a profound process. Figure out how to thrive in this world."

Just rewatching one of my favourite movies. What's this, the fifth time? And I'm beginning to understand the overall conflict of the film. It's the struggle between what we are and what we want to be. The struggle to adapt to the world as it is.

How is this illustrated? Almost every scene in the A-plot (Charlie vs. himself) is Charlie constantly self-sabotaging his ideal life. Examples: "I could write this scene" vs. "I could have another muffin"; "I could stay out with Amelia & kiss her" vs. "I have to go home and brood about the script."

It's the conflict between just one person and the implication of what his life could be.
And I think this interpretation's supported by having Donald as the counter-point to Charlie, effortlessly achieving everything Charlie can't.

Susan Orlean represents one part of Charlie's ideal life - the effortless writer. But she too desires an ideal life that her repression prevents her from achieving; she "longs to feel passionate about something" and so she too is in conflict with herself. John Laroche is her counterpoint- a man who knows how to adapt, dropping passions when they're no longer useful & picking up new ones.

Characters in conflict with something that's almost entirely implied via subtext. I like it.
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Martin said...

Good film, inventive and funny. Pity about the ending, though.


hix said...

Tell me more about your take on the ending ...