Synonyms (Synonymes) (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

Synonyms (Synonymes) (2019)



Critic Consensus: Synonyms latches onto third-rail issues with thrilling audacity -- and taps into an energy that proves as discomfiting as it is infectious.

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In Paris, things do not exactly get off to a good start for the newly arrived Yoav. He knocks on the door of the flat where he's supposed to stay, only to discover the place is empty. While he is taking a bath there, his belongings are stolen. Yet this young Israeli, who has arrived with such great expectations, will not be dissuaded that easily. Desperate to erase his origins, Yoav sees becoming French as his only hope for salvation. Step one is to replace his language. From now on, he will not utter a single word of Hebrew and his dictionary becomes his constant companion. The necessary visits to the Israeli embassy annoy Yoav -- he finds his compatriots to be a total burden -- but the naturalization test also has its pitfalls. And the young French couple whom he befriends has some rather strange ideas about how to help him. Based on the real life experiences of writer-director Nadav Lapid's (The Kindergarten Teacher, Policeman), Synonyms explores the challenges of putting down roots in a new place. Yoav's attempts to find himself awaken past demons and open up an existential abyss in this tragicomic puzzle that wisely knows how to keep its secrets.


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Critic Reviews for Synonyms (Synonymes)

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (19)

It's all very deep. Except, you know, not really.

January 2, 2020 | Rating: C | Full Review…

As stiff-neck storytelling goes, this is pretty damn impressive.

November 22, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

What makes "Synonyms" so compelling is how it explores the theme of identity through a lens of searing self-reflection.

November 19, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The movie... is antic, poetic, funny, and alarming in equal measure - a real ride, although where the ride is taking both its hero and the audience is always in question.

November 8, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[Synonyms] is relentless, brutal, disorienting...

November 3, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A fascinating and ever-changing film... It is so unpredictable.

November 1, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Synonyms (Synonymes)


For a while, the impression we have is that this film doesn't have that much structure, as things just seem to happen randomly to the protagonist (played by an excellent Tom Mercier), but in fact this apparent non-linearity works as a clever reflection of his unbalanced psychological state.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

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