Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a tour-de-force as a terminally ill theatre director who struggles with his work and his women. Offered a grant, he decides to turn his life into a play, creating a life-size replica of part of New York inside a Manhattan theatre district warehouse and having actors playing himself and the people in his life.

Visionary writer-director Charlie Kaufman’s movie is challenging, ambitious and affecting. It also takes a while to get into, but is well worth the commitment with a stellar cast that includes Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Hope Davis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emily Watson and Dianne Wiest.