Maxine (Keener) and Craig (Cusack) meet on the 7 1/2 floor

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Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich is a 1999 film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. more...

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The film was widely praised for its originality, both in terms of the script and Jonze's direction. Kaufman's blending of fact and outrageous fiction was a theme continued in his next film with Jonze, Adaptation (which features Kaufman himself as a character and briefly touches on the making of Being John Malkovich). Jonze's direction and the performances of the lead actors were also viewed favourably by most critics. As well as Malkovich's performance as himself (or at least a version of himself; his middle name in the film is Horatio, while his real middle name is Gavin), Cameron Diaz's role attracted considerable attention, at least partly as she was almost unrecognizable as the dowdy Lotte.

Cast list

  • John Cusack – Craig Schwartz
  • Cameron Diaz – Lotte Schwartz
  • John Malkovich – John Horatio Malkovich
  • Catherine Keener – Maxine
  • Orson Bean – Dr. Lester
  • Mary Kay Place – Floris (Lester's secretary/receptionist)


The film centres around Craig Schwartz, an unsuccessful puppeteer involved in an forlorn marriage with his pet obsessed wife Lotte.

At the decree of his wife Schwartz begins to look for work and gets a job as a filing clerk for the Lestercorp Company at their offices on floor 7½ in the Mertin Flemmer building in Manhattan.

One day after moving a filing cabinet to look for a errant folder Schwartz discovers a mysterious portal which he discovers transports him into the conscious of John Malkovich, allowing him to observe the world through the eyes of his host for around 15 minutes before being unceremoniously dropped into a ditch by the side of the New Jersey turnpike on the verge of the City.

The puppeteer reveals his discovery to the beautiful Maxine, who has become the object of Schwartz unrequited desire, who proposes the two form a business selling the experience of being John Malkovich for $200 a pop.

Schwartz tells Lotte about the portal and she asks to try it entering Malkovich conscious as he takes a shower. She is aroused by the sensation and becomes obsessed with the portal wanting to return to her host's body immediately. The next time she enters Malkovich he is reading from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard when Maxine calls to arrange a meeting with Malkovich at 8.00pm that night.

Lotte returns to the portal at 8.00 that night and finds herself deeply attracted to Maxine who later claims to have sensed that Lotte was inside Malkovich during the pairs meeting.

Lotte cannot stop thinking about Maxine and invites her to dinner. After eating Lasagne and smoking a joint both Schwartz and Lotte attempt to kiss Maxine who refuses both of their advances revealing that she is not remotely interested in Schwartz but is mutually attracted to Lotte but only when she is inside Malkovich. The pair arrange a liaison when Lotte is inside Malkovich body and Maxine makes love to Malkovich as soon as she realises that Lotte is incumbent in his conscious.


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