Time: 112 mins.
Genre: Black Comedy/Fantasy
Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Keener) and Best Director.
I love it when filmmakers go out on a limb to tell strange little stories because, unlike most studio films, they don't always have a happy ending and are usually populated with either physically or emotionally unattractive people. People who are slightly off-kilter, but somehow more relatable because they aren't movie star perfect. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH is one of these movies. Not that I could really relate to any of the main characters or situations, but at least it was different, something I definitely have never seen before. Still haven't decided if that's a good thing or not. The world inhabited by the 3 leads John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener is not only unusual it's downright silly.
For most of the film Cusack and Diaz's characters are fighting over Maxine, played by Keener, while inhabiting the body of John Malkovich, who plays himself. It's great that Malkovich saw the potential of this idea and went along for the ride. It could have worked without his participation, but it makes it all the more amusing and intriguing that he joined in the fun. How do they become Malkovich do you ask?
By crawling into this mysterious portal found behind a filing cabinet at Craig's office, which just happens to be on the 7 1/2 floor. For 15 minutes, you see, hear and feel whatever Malkovich is seeing, hearing and feeling. Then his mind spits you out. Both in love with Maxine, Craig and Lottie (Diaz) fight to take over Malkovich to win her affections. Craig is also interested in "being" John in order to use his fame to ignite his puppeteering dreams. Initially, Maxine doesn't really care which one of them is inside of Malkovich, she just gets off by having "sex" with two people at the same time. However, once Craig experiences Maxine's love, he's not about to give it up, not even for Lottie.