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Being John Malkovich (1999)

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of movie star John Malkovich.

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2,051 ( 104)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 75 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Derek Mantini
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Father at Puppet Show
Madison Lanc ...
Daughter at Puppet Show
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Woman in Elevator (as Octavia L. Spencer)
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...
...
...
Wendy
Byrne Piven ...
Captain Mertin
Judith Wetzell ...
Tiny Woman
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...
Cab Driver
...
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Storyline

Puppeteer Craig Schwartz and animal lover and pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz are just going through the motions of their marriage. Despite not being able to earn a living solely through puppeteering, Craig loves his profession as it allows him to inhabit the skin of others. He begins to take the ability to inhabit the skin of others to the next level when he is forced to take a job as a file clerk for the off-kilter LesterCorp, located on the five-foot tall 7½ floor of a Manhattan office building. Behind one of the filing cabinets in his work area, Craig finds a hidden door which he learns is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich, the visit through the portal which lasts fifteen minutes after which the person is spit into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig is fascinated by the meaning of life associated with this finding. Lotte's trips through the portal make her evaluate her own self. And the confident Maxine Lund, one of Craig's co-workers who he tells about the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Be All That Someone Else Can Be See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 December 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Biti John Malkovich  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$637,721, 31 October 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,858,926, 7 May 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

The same cars are driving past on the New Jersey Turnpike the both first and second times someone is seen appearing from the portal. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lotte Schwartz: Craig, honey, it's time for bed.
[fade out and in]
Orrin Hatch the bird: Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up,
Craig Schwartz: Lotte...
Lotte Schwartz: I'm sorry. I didn't know Orrin Hatch was out of his cage.
See more »

Crazy Credits

at the end of the cast listing is noted ...and John Malkovich See more »

Connections

Referenced in Oldeuboi (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Pace, pace, mio Dio
from "La Forza del destino"
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Eva Urbanová and The Prague Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of Promusic, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Just because you haven't seen its like before, does not make it great
17 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

A prime example of just because you have not seen anything like it before, does not make it a cinematic masterpiece. Scuzzy puppeteer John Cusack and snide co-worker Catherine Keener discover a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich (playing himself) in their bizarre office and decide to profit from it. Marketed as a comedy, the film is inventive, most definitely original, but the laughs virtually dry up after the first 40 minutes. The strange plot takes one bizarre turn after another, incorporating lesbianism, spousal abuse and cults into the mix. Events become more and more sinister, disturbing and serious during the running time. Unfortunately, the main characters, including an unrecognizable Cameron Diaz as Cusack's frumpy wife, are so odious that it becomes impossible to identify with them, and by the climax one really does not care what is done to whom. Keener is initially terrific as the reprehensible profiteer, but she is given limited notes to play. Malkovich may be a good sport, but he is a pretty dull character as envisioned here. It is hard to recall Cusack ever being this unappealing. Director Spike Jonze has definite potential, but his ambition spins out of control far too quickly on this project. Even the look of the film, with everything in drab blues and greys, is a downer. For all of the hype, the film is an amazingly empty experience.


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