In my usual way of obsessing about things, I’ve been on a Charlie Kaufman jag. I just want to say a couple of quick things about Adaptation. It is a fun film, but I tend to think not great. But we’ll see.
Duality of the Artistic Personality
There seems to be some belief that Kaufman created the twin brother Donald Kaufman character so that he could express his concern about Hollywood at the same time he was lampooning it. This may come from a statement by Kaufman himself. As I always say, few people understand a piece of art as little as its author.
The characters are the two sides of the artistic personality. On the one side, you want to use your creativity to create something new and wonderful and meaningful. On the other, you want to use it to create cool genre crap. In other words, we all want to be Graham Greene.
In Adaptation, Kaufman uses these two sides of his personality to create two halves of a film: the first is artistic and insightful; the second is cool genre crap. And no one gets to blame him for slumming, because he didn’t do it; it was Donald—who, incidentally, he gave screenwriting credit to.
Not What Loves You
I thought this was just too wonderful:
Donald: Oh, God. I was so in love with her.
Charlie: I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was being really sweet to you.
Donald: I remember that.
Charlie: Then, when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. And it was like they were laughing at me. You didn’t know at all? You seemed so happy.
Donald: I knew. I heard them.
Charlie: Well, how come you were so happy?
Donald: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn’t have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.
Charlie: But she thought you were pathetic.
Donald: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That’s what I decided a long time ago.
Unfortunately: only in art!