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Where to Watch Being John Malkovich

Find out where to watch Spike Jonze’s turn-of-the-century film, Being John Malkovich, and what streaming service to catch it on.

Known as a surrealist fantasy comedy film, Being John Malkovich was very favorably received when it was released on the silver screen in 1999. Spike Jonze and his cast blend philosophy and film and address very abstract ideas such as the relationship between the mind and free will and do so in a very digestible — at times hilarious — way.

Being John Malkovich was incredibly original when it was released in 1999 and still is so to this day, and with dozens of philosophies running throughout the film the final 30 minutes are as interesting as the first 30 minutes.

The film was directed by Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Jackass) and written by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) in what was their feature-length debut. This debut kicked off a working relationship that inspired other thought-provoking films like Adaptation.

Watch Being John Malkovich on Amazon Prime Video

What Is Being John Malkovich’s Plot?

John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich

The film begins by following protagonist, Craig Schwartz, who is a down-and-out artist and puppeteer by trade in New York City. With his failed puppeteer career looming large, Craig finds a job as a file clerk in the Mertin-Flemmer building for the slightly curious, Dr. Lester.

During his time as a file clerk, which is based on a floor between the 7th and 8th floor, Craig develops unreciprocated feelings toward one of his coworkers, Maxine, whilst his wife Lotte is unsuspecting.

Whilst carrying out his filing duties, Craig discovers a peculiar little door which he opens, crawls through a lengthy tunnel and eventually finds himself peering through the mind of the famous actor, John Malkovich. Pretty surreal right?

Although our plot description is pretty brief, it is succinct enough to discuss some of the film’s philosophies and ideas it conveys.

Is It Really Better to Be Someone Else?

Being John Malkovich

As discussed, Being John Malkovich mixes philosophy and film and presents quite abstract, dense ideas in a digestible form. But what philosophy does the film touch upon?

Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman were perhaps most influenced by thought that was explored by thinkers such as René Descartes and his opinion on mind-body dualism and twisted the French philosopher’s theory.

Descartes believed that the mind could exist entirely separate from the body and that it did not need a physical vessel to exist. However, Jonze and Kaufman offer an alternative to this in the movie and suggest the mind needs to inhibit a body to exist in any form.

Another aspect that the film addresses of the anthropological aspect of someone else. At one point in our lives, we have all considered the benefits of being someone else. How better would your life be if you were Cameron Diaz or Pedro Pascal? However, the truth is, no one wants to be someone else, they want someone else’s fame, fortune, material resources, and relationships.

This is suggested during the film when Craig eventually takes over Malkovich’s mind completely and instead of acting, Malkovich begins to puppeteer. Malkovich would never choose this option, but Craig wants to live his own life with all the benefits that Malkovich’s entails.

Although these can be quite heavy topics, the film is a fantastic watch, especially during Malkovich’s foray into puppeteering which is chaotic and surreal and at times, absolutely hilarious.

Where to Watch Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich

You can watch Being John Malkovich on Amazon Prime.

The film is free to stream for those with an Amazon Prime subscription, alternatively, you can rent the movie. The rental includes 30 days to start watching the film, but will only last 48 hours after the film has been started. Alternatively, you can purchase the full movie if you want to have your own personal access forever.

Watch Being John Malkovich on Amazon Prime Video

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