Symbolism In The Movie Barton Fink

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In the film “Barton Fink” (1991 Coen Brothers), John Turturro takes on the extreme task of playing the role of the perplexed character, Barton Fink. His desires are to remain in tune with the common man, however, the success of his recent play in New York brought forth the opportunity to produce screenplays for movies in Los Angeles. This sudden change, ignites an ongoing feud within Barton Fink; should he write the movie Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner) wants or go with his gut and stick to a story about realism and the “common man.” The various medium close up shots, uses of symbolism and lighting throughout the film allow us to venture into the life of Barton Fink and to grasp his deteriorating mental state as the film progresses.
When we are
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Charlie appears to be the exact definition of “the common man,” however as the movie progresses, we learn of his hidden fetish. Barton Finks friendship with Charlie Meadows is where you detect that Barton struggles with actually relating to the common man. Barton continuously refuses and interrupts Charlie Meadows when he states that he could tell him some stories. The medium close ups of Barton and Charlie during this scene allow you to see the passion as Barton speaks, and the frustration on Charlies face as he continues to be ignored. In the film, he states, “many writers do everything in their power to insulate themselves from the common man, from where they live, from where they trade, from where they fight and love and converse and… so naturally their work suffers and regresses into empty formalism…well I’m spouting off again, but to put it in your language, the theatre becomes as phony as a three-dollar bill!” The verbiage during this conversation demonstrates Barton’s natural tendencies to set himself apart from the common…show more content…
Ultimately, Barton Fink finishes his screenplay, which he considers his best work and is thrilled about creating a piece relatable to the common man. However, Jack Lipnick, the studio boss, is less than excited and rejects Barton Fink’s work. The film ends with a long shot of Barton Fink wallowing on the beach with the mysterious box that Charlie has left with him. The camera then changes to a medium shot of Barton Fink, and then turns to a medium shot of a woman sitting on the beach, assuming the same pose as the picture he has been gazing upon in his room at the Earle. The shot/ reverse shot during this final scene allows the viewer to embrace Barton’s emotions, as the replication of the picture provided consolation after his utter failure in
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