[[quoteright:325:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/being_john_malkovich.jpg]]

->''Ever wanted to be someone else?''

The first teaming of director Creator/SpikeJonze and screenwriter Creator/CharlieKaufman.

An unemployed puppeteer finds employment as a filing clerk in the 7 1/2th floor at an office building. One day, he finds a hole hidden behind a cabinet, which leads into the head of JohnMalkovich, an actor who is playing himself in the movie. MindScrew ensues.

Also, see [[http://www.wurb.com/if/game/911 Being Andrew Plotkin]], an {{Interactive Fiction}} parody/homage to the film.

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!!This film contains examples of:

* ActingForTwo: John Malkovich plays himself, but also plays [[spoiler: Craig, when he's permanently taken over Malkovich's body and assumed his identity.]]
* AndIMustScream:
** The final fate of [[spoiler: Craig, who is forced to watch the life of Malkovich's daughter being raised by the woman he loved and the woman he hated.]]
** This also happens to [[spoiler: Malkovich while Craig was in control of his body for eight months, and this could be his situation for the rest of his life depending on how the whole host thing works.]]
* AmbiguouslyGay / IfItsYouItsOkay / HeterosexualLifePartners: The nature of Lotte and Maxine's relationship by the end of the film is open to interpretation.
* AsHimself: See TheDanza below.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: A classic example. I mean, 7 1/2th floor??
* BlackBugRoom: Lotte and Maxine run through Malkovich's.
* BrickJoke: When Craig [[spoiler: finally leaves John Malkovich's mind forever]], he's holding the plank of wood he had at the very beginning.
* CaliforniaDoubling: The whole movie was shot in L.A., but set in New York. When Lotte falls out onto the New Jersey Turnpike for the second time, look in the background for some palm trees that shouldn't exist.
* TheCameo: Creator/CharlieSheen, Creator/SeanPenn and BradPitt all play themselves.
* CheckPlease:
-->'''Maxine''': Tell me a little about yourself.\\
'''Craig''': Well, I'm a puppeteer...\\
'''Maxine''': [turns to bartender] Check!
* TheDanza (but very easy to mistake for AsHimself): John Malkovich as John Malkovich. The former has said the latter bears "only the faintest resemblance" to himself. Among other differences, his middle name is changed (from Gavin to Horatio), he really had never been in "that jewel thief movie" at the time, and he doesn't live in New York.
* {{Defictionalization}}. A lot of people in the film compliment John Malkovich for his role as a jewel thief. However, as the character repeatedly pointed out, he'd never played a jewel thief by 1999. In 2003, he played a jewel thief in ''JohnnyEnglish''.
* DownerEnding: And '''how'''. [[spoiler: Craig jumps into the portal too late. As a result, he is trapped inside the mind of the girl being raised by both of his former wives, [[AndIMustScream unable to affect anything.]]. Forever. The last lines of the movie are him ''weeping and pleading that the girl look away from the two women laughing and playing with each other.'' ]] To be fair, he did turn into a psychopathic {{Jerkass}}.
* EvilVersusEvil: There are ''no'' genuinely moral characters in the film, save [[spoiler: Malkovich himself, and even he's painted as a bit of a pervert in the trip through his memories]]. Everyone else is trying to take control of Malkovich, and worse [[spoiler: his as yet unborn ''daughter'']], with no regard for the fact that they're essentially killing them by suppressing their consciousnesses forever.
* FemmeFatale: Maxine.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Lotte spends the whole first half of the movie making ridiculous, flower-child psychology statements like "Elijah is suffering from some childhood trauma". [[spoiler:Then, when Lotte is struggling against the ropes she's tied in, Elijah has a first-person flashback to when his parents were tied up (complete with monkey-language dialogue and English subtitles), and he couldn't untie their bonds before he was captured.]]
** Craig performs "Craig's Dance of Despair" with a puppet at the opening, [[spoiler: then performs it using John Malkovich's body.]]
** Near the beginning of the movie Craig and Lotte are making dinner and the parrot is being annoying. When Lotte goes to put it up it says "Help! She's locking me in a cage!" and it's kind of cute. Later in the movie however [[spoiler: when Craig goes crazy and stuffs Lotte in a cage, she screams [[MeaningfulEcho "Help! He's locking me in a cage!"]]]]
** Early on, Maxine asks Craig, [[spoiler: "Are you a fag?" By the end of the movie, she's in a lesbian relationship.]]
** Craig watches a video where Captain Mertin gets a proposal from a midget in need of help. Later, Lester gets a similar proposal from Lotte (he's even holding the same pipe from the beginning).
** Earlier, Craig is disgusted by a famous puppeteer who is solely a gimmick celebrity. This is ultimately his fate when he controls Malkovich.
** The only thing that Lotte wants from Craig is a child. She finally gets this surprisingly when she becomes a father inside Malkovich.
* GenreBusting: A comedy drama laden with surrealism which functions as a borderline philosophy course.
* SpikeJonzeScript: This movie might wasn't written by Spike Jonze but with him being the director it shows the elements: Most of the main cast act like crazy people yet the world around them is meant to be like the real-life and every person in this movie thinks that our main characters are normal people.
* GrandTheftMe: The entire point of the doorway inside the Mertin Flemmer Building. [[spoiler:Turns out that Mertin has been using it for decades to jump from host to host as his current one grows too old... which means that little Emily is doomed to become the next victim.]]
* GranolaGirl: Lotte, and how.
* IfICantHaveYou: [[spoiler:Lotte to Maxine]] in the film's climax.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Lester and his friends, Maxine, Lotte... everyone except Craig and Malkovich himself, really.]]
* LoserProtagonist: Craig starts out the movie as a penniless puppeteer. When both he and Lotte try to make a move on Maxine at the same time, she rejects Craig because she doesn't find him physically attractive. '''Ouch.'''
* MainstreamObscurity: An in-universe example. The characters admire Creator/JohnMalkovich immensely, and they seem convinced that he's one of the world's greatest living actors, but none of them can actually name a single movie that he's been in ([[RunningGag except "That jewel thief movie", which Malkovich insists he never made]]). [[invoked]]
* MathematiciansAnswer:
-->'''Craig''': Hi. Do you know that I don't even know your name, or where you work?\\
'''Maxine''': Yeah.
* [[MesACrowd Malkovich Malkovich]]: Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich, Malkovich Malkovich [[MemeticMutation Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich]].
-->'''Malkovich''': Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich?\\
'''Malkovich''': Malkovich Malkovich.
* MentalStory: A significant chunk of the movie takes place in Malkovich's head.
* MentalWorld: The chase through John Malkovich's unconscious mind.
* MissingFloor: Level 7 1/2. In order to get there, you have to block the elevator and pry open its door with a crowbar.
* MindScrew: In more ways than one.
* PokemonSpeak: The MentalWorld Malkoviches.
* PopCultureOsmosis: ESPN ran an entire ad campaign on itself using the film's premise, where fans would jump into the bodies of athletes - and end up on the same NJ highway ditch.
* PrimalScene: In Malkovich's subconscious.
* RunningGag: People only knowing John Malkovich for being in "the jewel thief movie", with Malkovich insisting that he wasn't.
* SexByProxy: Oh yeah.
* SittingSexyOnAPiano: Used disturbingly.
* SurrealHorror: A hole in an office buildings that is used to take someone over. The scene where Malkovich tries to go through it.
* TriangRelations: Type 12.
* UnguidedLabTour: Pretty much how the portal to John Malkovich's psyche is discovered.
* WeirdnessCensor: Granted he didn't witness what Malkovich was going through firsthand, but perhaps it's fitting (especially [[HilariousInHindsight given the events of 2011]]) that Charlie Sheen didn't think anything Malkovich was saying sounded weird at all. Actually, he found the whole thing kinda hot.
* WhatHaveIBecome: Craig actually says this when he considers how he [[spoiler:tied up Lotte and locked her in a cage with her monkey]]. Then he goes [[IgnoredEpiphany right on doing what he was doing]].
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Of a sort. More like a ''who'' are they now epilogue.

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''[[SayMyName Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich. Malkovich.]]''