If only Jessie Buckley's multi-aliased character attached more gravity to the much repeated titular quote, Charlie Kaufman's latest surrealist piece wouldn't be around to leave us scratching our heads wondering where on earth that came from.
The film is set over the backdrop of a blizzard hit American countryside, in all it's creepy, unnerving glory that some, including the characters, find distinctively aesthetic. A young couple visiting the in-laws for a nice family dinner, a premise straightforward enough for the unaccustomed in Kaufman's filmography that unravels its perturbing layers as the film progresses.
The film puts to show some bold and innovative directing choices while at the same time reserving Kaufman's classic overstretched sequences that carry on for ridiculously long durations. Be it the pretentious road talk, the awkward dinner conversations , an out-of-the-blue dance sequence or the denouement stage performance; the film really makes you feel that runtime and it isn't something pleasing to say the least.
We are graced with some outrageously unnerving performances from the cast that more often than not left me anxious, afraid or at the end of my wits. Nervous twitching, exasperated laughing, awkward dialogue are just some of the many ways in which dinnertime disconcerted our viewing. Plemmons' emotionless stare, Collette's deadpan stare or Thewlis' bewildered stare – enough to keep one up at night, either giggling or bricking oneself.
The innately poetic quality that is ascribed to quantum theory or to philosophy, around which most of the dialogue revolves, the scripting of the film is entirely self-aware of it's preachiness, its inflated intellect and yet the conversations between characters are fluid and realistic. Kaufman always has so much to say and is unapologetic in his execution.
It's not the easiest of tasks interpreting his films wantonly or otherwise and he makes sure of that in his style of writing. Is the film a commentary on the horrors of senility? Or perhaps involves an unreliable narration owing to disassociative mental disorders? Or is it a metaphor for unsolicited advances and perhaps even assault? I'd be damned if I knew and I'm not really sure I'd be entirely satisfied if I did. And I think that is a rather admirable quality for such an outlandish piece of cinema.