: : : Being John Malkovich

Story

While too many movies suffer the fate of creative bankruptcy, Being John Malkovich is a refreshing study in contrast, so bracingly original that you'll want to send director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman a thank-you note for restoring your faith in the enchantment of film. Even if it ultimately serves little purpose beyond the thrill of comedic invention, this demented romance is gloriously entertaining, spilling over with ideas that tickle the brain and even touch the heart. That's to be expected in a movie that dares to ponder the existential dilemma of a forlorn puppeteer (John Cusack) who discovers a metaphysical portal into the brain of actor John Malkovich.

The puppeteer's working as a file clerk on the seventh-and-a-half floor of a Manhattan office building; this idea alone might serve as the comedic basis for an entire film, but Jonze and Kaufman are just getting started. Add a devious coworker (Catherine Keener), Cusack's dowdy wife (a barely recognizable Cameron Diaz), and a business scheme to capitalize on the thrill of being John Malkovich, and you've got a movie that just gets crazier as it plays by its own outrageous rules. Malkovich himself is the film's pièce de résistance, riffing on his own persona with obvious delight and--when he enters his own brain via the portal--appearing with multiple versions of himself in a tour-de-force use of digital trickery. Does it add up to much? Not really. But for 112 liberating minutes, Being John Malkovich is a wild place to visit. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Featurette "An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Puppeteering"
  • Featurette "An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Background Driving"
  • Interview with Director Spike Jonze
  • Short Film "7 1/2 Floor Orientation"
  • Short Film "American Arts & Culture Presents"
  • Spike Jonze's Photo Album
  • Linear Excerpts from "Vesselis Humanus Handbook"
  • Trailers
  • TV Spots

Cast

John CusackCraig Schwartz
Cameron DiazLotte Schwartz
Ned BellamyDerek Mantini
Eric WeinsteinFather at Puppet Show
Madison LancDaughter at Puppet Show
Octavia SpencerWoman in Elevator (as Octavia L. Spencer)
Mary Kay PlaceFloris
Orson BeanDr. Lester
Catherine KeenerMaxine Lund
K.K. DoddsWendy
Reginald C. HayesDon (as Reggie Hayes)
Byrne PivenCaptain Mertin
Judith WetzellTiny Woman
John MalkovichJohn Horatio Malkovich
Kevin CarrollCab Driver
Willie GarsonGuy in Restaurant
W. Earl BrownFirst J.M. Inc. Customer
Charlie SheenCharlie
Gerald EmerickSad Man in Line
Bill M. RyusakiMr. Hiroshi
Carlos JacottLarry the Agent
Richard FancyJohnson Heyward
Patti TippoMalkovich's Mother
Daniel HansenBoy Malkovich
Gregory SporlederDrunk at Bar
Mariah O'BrienGirl Creeped Out by Malkovich
Kelly TeacherEmily
Jacqueline BenoîtLester's Friend (as Jacqueline Benoit)
William BuckLester's Friend (as William N. Buck)
Christine D. ColemanLester's Friend
Jeanne DiehlLester's Friend
Audrey GelfundLester's Friend (as Audrey Gelfand)
Yetta GinsburgLester's Friend
Sylvester JenkinsLester's Friend
Roy C. JohnsonLester's Friend
Eddie J. LowLester's Friend
Ralph W. SpauldingLester's Friend
David WylerLester's Friend
Flori WylerLester's Friend
Kevin LeeBallet Dancer
Marlowe BassettBallet Dancer
Jennifer CanzoneriBallet Dancer
Kristie CordleBallet Dancer
Denise DabrowskiBallet Dancer
Kristin CondonBallet Dancer (as Kristin D'Andrea)
Charlene GrimsleyBallet Dancer
Christine KrejerBallet Dancer
Erica LongBallet Dancer
Yvonne MonteliusBallet Dancer
Jessica NeubergerBallet Dancer
Sara RifkinBallet Dancer
Elizabeth RiveraBallet Dancer
Chelsa SjostromBallet Dancer
Pamela HaydenFeatured Character Voice (voice)
Jayne HessFeatured Character Voice (voice)
Michelle MaddenFeatured Character Voice (voice)
Greg O'NeillFeatured Character Voice (voice)
Neil RossFeatured Character Voice (voice)
Bill WittmanFeatured Character Voice (voice)
Lance BangsLocker Room Bully (uncredited)
Kacee DeMasiCab Driver (uncredited)
Andy DickHimself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Eddie L. FauriaBartender (uncredited)
David FincherChristopher Bing (uncredited)
Jester HairstonLester's Friend (uncredited)
Isaac HansonHimself at Awards Ceremony (archive footage) (uncredited)
Taylor HansonHimself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Zac HansonHimself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Dustin HoffmanWilly Loman (archive footage) (uncredited)
Victor IsaacStudent (uncredited)
Spike JonzeDerek Mantini's Assistant for Emily Dickinson Puppet (uncredited)
James MurrayStudent Puppeteer (uncredited)
Sean PennHimself (uncredited)
Brad PittHimself (uncredited)
Winona RyderHerself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Gary SiniseStage Role (archive footage) (uncredited)
Trevor Lawrence YoungMr. Malkovich Sr. (uncredited)

  • Genre: Comedy Movies
  • Theme(s): Fantasy, Sci-Fi (Futuristic)
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Producer: Universal
  • Length: 112 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaNov 19, 1999
    EuropeMar 17, 2000
    JapanSep 23, 2000
    AustraliaDec 26, 1999
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaMA
  • Blu-ray Release
    North AmericaMay 15, 2012
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaApr 1, 2003
    EuropeAug 11, 2003
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