Synecdoche, New York is a 2008 American postmodern drama film written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is Kaufman's directorial debut.
The plot follows an ailing theatre director (Hoffman) as he works on an increasingly elaborate stage production whose extreme commitment to realism begins to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality. The film's title is a play on Schenectady, New York, where much of the film is set, and the concept of synecdoche, wherein a part of something represents the whole, or vice versa.
The film premiered in competition at the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2008. Sony Pictures Classics acquired the United States distribution rights, paying no money but agreeing to give the film's backers a portion of the revenues. It had a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on October 24, 2008, and generated much less revenue than it cost.
The story and themes of Synecdoche, New York polarized critics: some called it pretentious or "self-indulgent"; others, including Roger Ebert, declared it a masterpiece and ranked it among the best films of the 2000s. It was also nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.