[[caption-width-right:300: A Creator/CharlieKaufman movie. Boy is it ever a Charlie Kaufman movie.]]
->''"Is everything okay?"\\
"Everything is everything."''

''Synecdoche, New York'' is a 2008 movie and directorial debut of Creator/CharlieKaufman, starring Creator/PhilipSeymourHoffman as [[MeaningfulName Caden]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion Cotard]], a struggling theatre director trying to remain optimistic and creative in spite of his marriage collapsing and [[StrawNihilist finding his life is ultimately meaningless]]. Following his successful [[AgeLift young-cast]] production of ''Theatre/DeathOfASalesman'', Cotard receives a "genius grant" that gives him a nigh unlimited budget, which he decides to use on a production that accurately depicts life. Cotard then tries to perfect his artistic vision over the space of several decades, all the while struggling to maintain a relationship with numerous women and come to terms with his mortality.

Especially notable in that the (relatively) basic plotline quickly turns bizarre when Caden hires an actor to play himself, which then extends to the people in his life too; needless to say, things turn into a mash-up of MetaFiction, RecursiveReality, PostModernism and flat out MindScrew pretty fast. Would you expect any less from a Kaufman movie?

[[NoPronunciationGuide And it's pronounced]] "sin-'''neck'''-duh-key".


* AdultFear: The idea the film was built around was that it be a horror movie about the things people are really scared about:
** Fear of poor health? ''Constantly has bizarre ailments''.
** Fear of cancer? ''Even examines his stool for blood''.
** Fear of loneliness? ''His wife and daughter go to Germany without him''.
** Fear of sexual inadequacy? ''He get upset both before and during sex on two occasions, leading to guilt.''
** Fear of [[spoiler:not protecting your kids? ''His daughter is taken away at four, is covered in tattoos by ten and becomes an erotic dancer, before calling him a bad parent and dying after refusing to forgive him.'']]
** Fear of [[spoiler:parental death? ''His father withers painfully to death from cancer, his mother is bludgeoned to death during a break in.'']]
* AmbiguouslyGay: Is Sammy in love with Caden?
** With Adele and Maria [[spoiler:and Olive]], it's also unclear precisely where the lines are drawn.
** Caden and others sometimes question his sexuality.
* AmbiguousGender: There is frequent suggestion that Caden might in some way be a woman.
* ApocalypseHow: [[spoiler: Society collapses utterly over the course of the film, we never find out how or why. It's a kind of existential joke, usually meditations on mortality have the message "You will die and the world will carry on, and you have to accept that," but in this case the world dies and Caden has to carry on, more bewildered than ever.]]
* ArbitrarilyLargeBankAccount: The [=MacArthur=] Genius grant seems to provide Caden with this.
* CaptainOblivious: Caden is something of this. He fails to even [[spoiler: notice the extremely large tattoo on the woman he's married to.]]
* ChekhovsGunman: Sammy appears in a few scenes before his role in the plot is established.
* TheChewToy: Caden.
* ComedicSociopathy: A very dark stripe.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The British Blu Ray edition carries the blurb: "The Smash Hit Comedy of the Year!"
** Maybe it meant "comedy" in the same way ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' used it...
* CrapsackWorld: The world around the main characters progressively turns more and more into a dystopia [[spoiler: culminating in an apocalypse]]. [[SleptThroughTheApocalypse Nobody seems to notice.]]
** It's true- but only if you've read every book Charlie Kaufman's ever read.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: Caden's psychiatrist recommends a brutal, controversial book about an anti-Semite that became famous ''simply because the author is a now dead four-year-old.''
* DepravedHomosexual: It's implied that Maria is this [[spoiler: and has turned Olive into one]].
** [[spoiler: Maria convinces Olive that Caden is one, much to his chagrin.]]
* {{Doppelganger}}: Played with in that although neither Sammy nor Millicent resemble Caden, they arguably do a better job at being him.
%%* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Sammy.]]
* DyingAlone: A common theme.
-->[[spoiler:'''Ellen''': You realize you're not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone's experience. ''Every. Single. One.'']]
* TheEeyore: Caden
* {{Foreshadowing}}: You can see Caden's double in the background even before he gets the grant.
** When discussing his version of ''Theatre/DeathOfASalesman'' he explains his reasons for casting young actors as old people. By the end of the film the cast have aged about 30 years. And we're shown [[spoiler:the final scene of the play, which ends with death]].
** Almost all scenes that have Caden [[spoiler:cleaning his house and Adele's apartment have Adele referring to him as Ellen (Adele's cleaner that he later swaps lives with). An early scene also has a 911 operator referring to him as ma'am.]]
** When Caden starts scrubbing the house with his toothbrush, the TV has the ending where [[spoiler:the elderly Caden walks through his destroyed set.]] The commercial for cancer therapy also briefly shows [[spoiler:a young Ellen and her mother having a picnic,]] which later resurfaces when the plot explores her regrets.
* GainaxEnding: "Die."
* HopeSpot: Caden finally finds fulfillment with [[spoiler: Hazel]] only to [[spoiler: lose her to smoke inhalation in the next scene.]]
* IdenticalStranger: The actors who play other actors. Mostly.
* IronicEcho: [[spoiler:After Hazel breaks Caden's heart, he tries to jump to his death, but it prevented. Eventually, Hazel falls for Caden again, breaking Sammy's heart and causing him to jump from the replica of the same building.]]
* KavorkaMan: Caden starts out fat and gets progressively uglier over the course of the movie, not to mention being a charismatic black hole. Yet he somehow manages to reel in girlfriends/wives played by Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, and Creator/EmilyWatson.
** One theory behind this is that we're seeing things from Caden's perspective, so we see him as an ugly failure and the women as idealised beauties.
* MeaningfulName: Caden Cotard is named after a psychological/neurological delusion that one has already died. Wife Adele has a PunnyName in that "Adele Lack Cotard" [[{{Mondegreen}} sounds like]] "a delicate art."
** At one point, Caden buzzes apartment 31Y, and [[ThemeNaming the surname of the owner]] reads [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capgras_delusion Capgras]].
* MetaFiction: The plot unfolds both as itself and as a play of itself, [[MindScrew as well as itself as a play and a play of a play of itself]].
* MindScrew: A major understatement. Many interpretations exist, but one internally consistent possibility is that [[spoiler: the whole movie consists of a mishmash of memories (of variable accuracy), fantasies, fears, and memories of previous fantasies/fears that go through Caden's mind near the end of his life (i.e. this is his deathbed experience of his "life flashing before him")]].
* NoEnding: Caden's grand opus [[spoiler: and his life doesn't so much end as stop]]. [[MindScrew Maybe.]]
* NoodleIncident: More like Noodle [[spoiler: Apocalypse]].
* NotSoDifferent: A major point come the conclusion (but about ''everyone'' rather than the traditional hero-villain/good-evil comparison); Caden initially makes a point about how every extra is actually an individual, unique protagonist in their own story, yet by the end he discovers that regardless of individuality, everyone is the same when it comes to death and becoming old. A blatant example can be seen between [[spoiler: Caden and Ellen, who, despite being a director and a cleaner respectively, literally interchangeable due to their similarities.]]
-->'''Caden''': I know how to do it now. There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. Try to imagine that many people! None of those people is an extra. They're all the leads of their own stories. They have to be given their due.
* OneSceneWonder: Dianne Wiest has only ten minutes of screen time. [[spoiler:She has major billing. These are related.]] [[invoked]]
* ParentalAbandonment: Caden spends little time with Ariel, the daughter he has with Claire, at one point referring to Olive as "my real daughter".
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler: Olive comes to regard Maria as a father figure, (which since she's a lesbian has its own Unfortunate Implications), which makes it extra squicky when we find out that Maria took her virginity and had a relationship with her.]]
* PunnyName: The title is a combination of "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenectady,_New_York Shenectady, New York]]" and "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche synecdoche]]".
* ShowWithinAShow: And how...
* TheShrink: Dr. Gravis.
* SleptThroughTheApocalypse: What seems to have happened to Caden at the film's end.
* SoapOperaRapidAgingSyndrome: Seems to be happening in-universe to Caden, as everyone gets older and time moves faster without him realizing it.
* StalkerWithoutACrush: Sammy. His exact motives for following Caden are unclear, so he could possibly be StalkerWithACrush.
* RecursiveReality: TheMovie.
** Even the warehouse map contains a miniature version of the warehouse they're in.
* RuleOfSymbolism: All over the place. Hazel's burning house probably takes the cake.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler:Caden decides to make a replica of Schenectady and its inhabitants to make an accurate play on life and death; he ends up spending decades perfecting it, it ends up falling apart, all of his actors inexplicably die, and Caden finally realizes how to perfect his masterpiece, only to die before revealing it.]]
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Much like his other directorial film, Anomalisa, there are elements of both.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Cotard's "Therapist" seems more like a sadistic psychopath; the closest she comes to helping Caden is selling him two overpriced novels, ''[[CrazyPrepared one of which ends prematurely when he ignores her sexual advances.]]''
* TraumaCongaLine: Caden Cotard ends up experiencing basically every bad thing that could ever happen to a person over a lifetime other than being physically attacked or losing a limb.