Cinema of The Season: November

  1. Synecdoche New York – Charlie Kaufman

Art is meaningless but means everything. Is producing art and establishing a legacy worth the suffering? Sometimes the inherent conflict to decide what is “worth it” is ample to keep anyone from attempting at all. Life is synonymous with mess, and this film shows that perfectly. Death is a habitual theme in this movie, as the protagonist races the clock to create his magnum opus. Poisoned by regret and loneliness, he desperately tries to embody his pain in a play. Whether he succeeded in making something remarkable or not is almost inconsequential; this film is about accepting your insignificance. Being reminded of the meaninglessness of existence in such a surreal, merciless way isn’t always very fun to accept; however, I cannot help but see the splendor in it. We’re now submerging deeper into fall – some could even call it winter. The days start to feel the same as the clock marches on through the months, and yet each moment matters. The key to this film is that we must acknowledge the power of a day, and how to maximize them into a life worth living. Humanity is a perpetual struggle that continues, but realizing the power one has on their own reality allows a newfound freedom hidden from so many.


  1. Frances Ha – Noah Baumbach

Frances Ha takes a step back from the mundane to find peace within it. Although it has been quoted as a comedy, it dives much deeper than your traditional block-buster comedy. Loneliness and the need to depend on someone rings throughout the eighty-six minutes. And if you’re anything like me, Frances’ life encapsulates the feeling of finding strength in the oblique. I’m impacted each time I hear this quote: “It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them, and they know it, and they love you, and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”. For me, the movie serves as a sense of grounding. Something much bigger than our mundane, base level days. It offers an introspective peak into Frances’ mind in a way that is so relatable and raw. Awkward pauses, distant stares and bellied-over laughs encapsulate the human experience in a way many cannot understand. But in the case of Frances Ha, we are alongside her, watching in awe.


  1. Dead Poets Society – Peter Weir

Immediately, a central theme is a pressure from society that expects you to be perfect compared to raw passion. As children from wealthy households’ lives are mapped out for them, the realization that they have no control over their future sinks in. But there’s something genuine and inspiring in most scenes, like vignettes of motivational discussion that can truly empower the soul if you let in and believe. To me, there is no other film like this that can move me as this does. Just look at the framing of Neil Perry’s scenes at home: everything is considered and works beautifully. Body language and placement only elevate this film further. The color scheme changes drastically as it progresses, leaving me working through the details in my head even days later. I wonder, how would the story play out if there were no restrictions? Pure joy is rare to find, but a profoundly optimistic role model such as Mr. Keating (played by Robin Williams) may be all one needs to ease the pain. Director Peter Weir balances every emotion demonstrating the subtle master of his craft. In contrast to what some may say, Dead Poets Society is not a coming-of-age film. It is a film of the ages.