Being John Malcovich

22 Jun

Due to my difficulties suspending belief as a film viewer, I stick to the silver screen productions that

a) are documentaries, which don’t tend to dress up reality in a top hat and sell that false image as reality to top hatless consumers; or,

b) don’t expect the viewer to take the plot/setting/time/space as a authentic depiction of reality.

I recently watched Being John Malcovich–even for me, the film was twisted and strange. In a makes-me-ponder-this-perspective good way.  When Malcovich enters Malcovich’s mind/body portal and finds that the entire world is him and he is the entire world, I was struck at the profundity. From this, I took: there is no true distinction amongst man, and we are one human body at large; and one can only know another as deeply as one has a knowledge of self.

A movie review from the Associated Content has this to say:

Being John Malcovich begins Craig doing puppetry. The act, titled “The Dance of Despair and Disillusion”, shows the Craig marionette smashing a mirror. I think the title of the puppet show is a parallel to

Craig’s life, and the breaking of the mirror represents Craig destroying his own identity to be John Malcovich.

In most of the articles I have read about the movie, Craig is made out to be a villain for “trying to play God”. Craig does eventually use Malcovich just like a puppet, and of course, “to enter a man’s mind is the ultimate puppeteering experience” (Ebert).

There are some exceptions to the “anti-Craig” critics, including David Bruce.

Bruce defends Craig by saying “if given god-like qualities, we would use them for our own selfish gains.” Almost anyone is Craig’s position would have done the same thing. Deep down, this is the way most people really are. We could not have the power to control and manipulate someone’s life like that and not take full advantage of it. Another important point made by Bruce is that “for a film that has nothing to do with religion or god, it is a profoundly spiritual and theological story.”

This film makes a powerful statement “about the restraint of god” (Bruce’s words, not mine) because we are free to make our own choices and mistakes with “no strings attached” (Bruce 2).


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