A Response to the Spike Jonze Film 'Adaption'

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A short response from my Film literature class on the Spike Jonze directed 'Adaption'. It should be noted that our semester had an ongoing theme of 'the self' and our specific understanding of that theme within the chosen films

Submitted: September 29, 2014

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Submitted: September 29, 2014

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Postmodernism and Charlie Kaufman’s Film ‘ADAPTION’

(Film and Literature Post Class Response)

At first I found the idea of ‘Postmodernism’ really difficult to understand, perhaps it has something to do with how varied the opinion is on its specific definition. I searched for some time, looking at further examples and explanations before I found something that I think really helped me to begin to grasp it all. One particular text simply said that “Postmodernism, is based on the position that reality is not mirrored in the human understanding of it, but is rather constructed as the mind tries to understand its own personal reality”. I loved this notion that we use postmodernism as a way of grasping that unending purgatorial position, between seeing and comprehending. In a sense I think it promotes subjective interpretation and goes against exact definition. Nothing is ever definite because there’ll always be someone else seeing it another way, perceiving it another way. For that reason alone, it seems that certainty is eliminated. ‘Charlie Kaufman’ as the central character of ‘Adaption’ seeks to further this idea. Throughout the entire movie, he takes us on his own fluctuating journey of self- discovery, proving that contrary to perception he is in fact not one singular person and that we do not exist in one singular world, making singular decisions. Not only do we follow his path, but also weave intermittently through the lives of the other characters. ‘Charles Lemert’ had once said that, “Postmodernism is a surprising, sometimes humorous and always disconcerting mix of present, past and future” and in the story, we’re shown not only these three dimensions but also the psychological inner narrative, and the imagination, incessantly overlapping and apparently confirming just how divided and confused can we can all often be.

Louis Shaw


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