Movie Review – Being John Malkovich (1999)


I was really intrigued by the title of this movie and when I got to know the premise I knew I had to watch this one. And am I glad that I did 🙂

A bit of fantasy thrown in with some really good acting makes for a good watch. It is about a puppeteer who has no career and no opportunities to make one. He finally decides to join a company as a filer (largely due to insistence by his wife) on the 7 & 1/2 floor of a building. Herein he discovers a portal that literally changes his life. The secret door leads directly into the actor John Malkovich’s head.

It is definitely a one-time watch that will keep you glued till the end though the ending of the movie is a little disappointing. Good acting by all the actors.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.9/10
  • John Cusack actually took some marionette-puppeteering lessons in order to prepare for the film
  • John Malkovich‘s real middle name is Gavin – in the movie, his character’s middle name is Horatio.
  • According to the script, the song intended to be played over the closing credits was “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppethead” by They Might Be Giants.
  • Charlie Kaufman sent the screenplay to Francis Ford Coppola after he wrote it. Coppola liked it very much and showed it to his daughter’s husband, Spike Jonze. Jonze liked the screenplay so much that he approached Kaufman about directing the movie.
  • The original script has Kevin Bacon in place of Charlie Sheen, as Malkovich‘s actor friend.
  • A fictional behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of this movie appears in screenwriterCharlie Kaufman‘s subsequent movie, Adaptation. (2002).
  • Writer / director Spike Jonze claimed in an interview that when he was shopping the screenplay around Hollywood, at least one unspecified producer asked if he could possibly rewrite the film as “Being Tom Cruise“.
  • John Malkovich was approached about this film several times and loved the script, but he and his production crew felt that another actor would fit the role better. Malkovich offered to help produce the film, and aid Spike Jonze in any way, but refused to star in it. Eventually after a couple of years Malkovich’s will was worn down and he agreed to star in the film.
  • In a radio interview writer Charlie Kaufman explained that while pitching John Malkovichthe story, Kaufman was informed, much to his surprise, that Malkovich lived at the time in a Manhattan apartment located on the 7th 1/2 floor.
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