John Cusack plays Craig Schwartz, a puppet master in a time where puppets aren't really a hot item. His wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz in dire need of some conditioner) works at a pet store and together they own a lot of animals, including a talking bird, a dog, and a monkey with some psychological problems. After being beaten up for a lewd puppet show, Craig decides to try and find a real job. He ends up applying for work at a filing company that happens to be in the 7 1/2 floor. Which means that you have to stop the elevator between the 7th and 8th floor to get out. The 7 1/2 floor is just that, half a floor. Everyone walks bent over and the saying is, "low overhead means savings for you". While at work, Craig meets Maxine (Catherine Keener) and falls in love with her. She wants nothing to do with him, until one day Craig discovers something. While filing something, Craig discovers a hidden, very small doorway. He decides to see where it leads, and it ends up leading into John Malkovich's head. For 15 minutes he can see thru the eyes of John Malkovich. After 15 minutes however, he ends up falling from the sky onto the side of the New Jersey Turnpike (which for some reason seems like the right place to be). When Maxine hears about this, they decide to open up Malkovich's head for business. For $200 a pop, you too can enter the head of John Malkovich. But it's not that simple. See, Lotte enters Malkovich's head, and ends up falling in love with Maxine, who loves Lotte too, but only when she's in Malkovich. Craig, jealous of this relationship ends up caging Lotte and going into Malkovich's head when Malkovich is on a date with Maxine. Only Maxine thinks it's Lotte inside Malkovich's head. When she finds out that it was Craig, and Craig finds out he can actually control Malkovich, things start to get interesting. The plot also includes Craig's boss at the company, Dr Lecter (no relation to Hannibal I would presume) who has plans of his own to take over John Malkovich.
Surrealism - noun - a modern movement in art and literature, in which an attempt is made to portray or interpret the workings of the unconscious mind as manifested in dreams: it is characterized by an irrational, fantastic arrangement of material. I think that pretty much sums up the feeling of this movie. I have seen probably close to 2000 movies in my life (a little more than some, a lot less than others). I've seen some really horrible movies, and I've seen some really great ones. But as I said at the top Being John Malkovich is, without a doubt, one of the most bizzare films I have ever seen. How screenwriter Charlie Kaufman came up with this, I'll never know. And how director Spike Jonze, known mostly for his video work, could pull this off, I'll never know. It had the possibility of being a jumbled up, nonsensical story, but while it made your head spin, it also managed to make sense. Once you suspended your beliefs in just about everything. The great thing about the story is that everyone takes this ability to enter John Malkovich's head in stride. No one thinks that it's really odd, or unbelieveable. The first thing Maxine thinks of, is how to make a profit from it. Lotte doesn't think Craig is making up a story to be with Maxine, she just thinks he's telling the truth. And while Malkovich has one paranoid conversation with Charlie Sheen, he goes along with it (and yes, you do get to see what happens if John Malkovich enters the portal to his own brain in one of the funniest and again most surreal moments I've ever seen on film).
There were times where the story got bogged down and got a little slow. However, that may have been due to the fact that I saw this movie in a very, very warm movie theater. The acting performances were wonderful, especially that of John Malkovich. I would imagine it's very hard playing yourself on film, and then having to play the part of yourself while someone else is taking over your head. I have to again commend screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze for creating this amazing piece of film. Being John Malkovich is definitely unlike any film you've ever seen. Overall I found it to be very funny and very entertaining. I would highly recommend seeing it.