In the film, characters use a variety of phrasings to describe what "being John Malkovich" is like:
- JM Corp promises customers the ability to "be someone else."
- Lotte, after her first experience, says, "I knew who I was." And Craig reponds, "You weren't you. You were Malkovich."
- Maxine describes an experience of seeing "two people" looking at her "with complete lust and devotion through the same pair of eyes."
- After learning of Lotte and Maxine's meeting, Craig says, "You were with him, right? And she was with him."
- After starting to assert control, Craig compares Malkovich's body to a "suit", and says all he has to do is "make friends with the Malkovich body".
- Even after years of "being John Malkovich" Craig still refers to Malkovich in the third person. When he is being pressured to leave he says, "If I leave Malkovich, I'll just be me."
What are the gradations of meaning in these phrasings? Which way of expressing the connections between mind, body, and identity make the most sense to you? Would you take issue with any of the ways that the characters see these connections (for example, in class it was suggested that Maxine was merely seeing what she wanted to see when she claimed to feel both Lotte and Malkovich looking at her with desire)?