The Inner Life of Martin Frost

the inner life of martin frostThese are some comments about the film you are going to watch tomorrow.  As you can see, as usual, reactions to Paul Auster’s films are different and controversial.  So I am curious to know your personal response to the film.  


A fanciful and engaging metaphysical mystery about a writer, two beauties, love and the challenges of the creative process.


What starts out as a clever exploration of consciousness quickly descends into underplotted folly.


The inner life of Martin Frost reeks of misogyny and the film that enshrines his egomania makes half-assed aspirations to Goethe.


Paul Auster’s suffocating romance makes you feel as if you’re helplessly stuck inside the head of the most pretentious person you know.


Paul Auster’s latest film is about the love story of a gruffly antisocial novelist (David Thewlis) and a strange young woman (Irene Jacob) with nonstop whimsical philosophizing about the subjective nature of reality.


This is a review I found and changed a bit to make it more comprehensible to you.


Martin Frost (Thewlis) holes up in a friend’s empty house in the country to recuperate from a three-year writing jag. But his respite is extremely short-lived, as he hatches an idea for a new short story. He wakes up the next morning beside a comely, near-nude vivacious woman, Claire (Jacob), whose last name, Martin, is "coincidentally" his first.

They meet paranoid — at least on his side, since Claire has a radiant smile that just won’t quit. Introducing herself as the niece of the house’s owner, seeking refuge to work on her philosophy thesis, Claire proceeds to charm the pants off her unwilling host and enable his process.

As Martin’s prose progresses, Claire visibly weakens, until Martin, having apparently read Poe, sacrifices his art for his muse and fights to keep her in the "real" world, leading to Orpheus-tinged variations on "Ghost."

Auster throws in Michael Imperioli as a plumber-cum-amateur writer for comic relief. Imperioli, as it turns out, has his own otherworldly "muse," Anna (Auster’s lovely daughter Sophie), who appears as floppily inchoate as Imperioli’s unfocused writing.

The script inserted into Auster’s 2002 novel "The Book of Illusions" and finally expanded to its present form and was shot in Portugal.

Auster’s frequent voice-over narration clarifies just whose "inner life" haunts the enterprise, while Christophe Beaucarne struggles to find nuance in Auster’s vision of paranormal creativity.

As you are already used to, I would like to refer you to youtube so that you can watch the trailer and other scenes from the film.  Enjoy.  See you tomorrow.  J

The Inner Life of Martin Frost – Official Trailer



The inner life of Martin Frost


The Inner Life of Martin Frost

DVD menu design (this is quite interesting! You will tell me why!)


This entry was posted in Paul Auster. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to The Inner Life of Martin Frost

  1. anonimo says:

    After watching it I thought this movie was directly inspired by Auster’s life. I mean: Martin is a writer (just like Paul), he is in crisis because he has no inspiration (come on! Every writer has their problems with inspiration!), he suddenly meets by chance (yes…it’s ever “by chance” in the movies…) a woman (a muse) that inspires him. However I found this movie better than the other two but at the same time it was more banal. A writer that loses his inspiration and finds it again thanks to a muse. Something already written, something already watched and read.

    I’m sorry for having demolished every movie you posted but I want to be sincere and clear, I really didn’t appreciate those movies. And I’m so sorry about that because I was the first with great expectations!

    Elena Poles

  2. anonimo says:

    “The inner life of Martin Frost” is one of the best film i have seen in the last year. I have fond some difficolulties because of the language used by the protagonist, but i found it involving and rich in figures. In this film there is the contrast between real and unreal, between wish and owe, and these contrasts take Mr Frost to change his life and hug new experiences. the symbols of which Auster makes use are very much and personal of the author : it makes the whole film a sort of autobiography. The typewriter, the house, the photographies on the wall, also his daughter are all elements of the personal life of Paul Auster.

    There are some humoristic scenes as the draw of the screwdrivers, or the pneumatic that bumpes into Martin’s face, these make the film more pleasant.

    thank you for the opportunity! and sorry for the late!

    Matteo Cervesato

  3. anonimo says:

    It’s amaizing the way Paul Auster was able to create a story, and then to adapt it into a film, that swirls and swings between the border of reality and immagination. At the beginning of the film all is quite nd still,actually everything is too calm, there is a soothing and everlasting tranquillity, that is enhanced even by the peacefull beauty of nature. Then suddenly a woman comes in the country house where Martin Frost decided to retire for some days of vacation, and she pretends to be the niece of the owner of the house. There is something strange about her, but for sure you will never say that at the end of the film she will come up to be his muse, a work of immagination, a spirit, present only in his mind. And that’s the point. Where is the border between immagination and reality? Is the film only a dream? Does the protagonist realize that what’s happening is just a work of immagination, or is he definitly convinced that what’s happening corrisponds to the truth? Is the woman a real person or just a spirit? Does she appear only in his dreams or does he have allucinations?

    Let’s say that at the end of the film we are able to distinguish tha the film can be divided into 2 parts: the true reality, and when immagination starts; where can we say that the first part finishes and begins the second one? There’s a blurry border between reality and immagination. And I think Paul Auster is convinced that this happens even in everyday life.

    Even this film is different from the ordinary american film we normally watch, it is even more pshycological and intellectual than the oders, and it has to be watched carefully.

    Chiara Pinardi

  4. anonimo says:

    If we watch the film “The Inner Life of Martin Frost” we must read it as a metaphor. An autobiographical, or existential metaphor; it is the story of a writer, -that can be Paul Auster: the photos at Martin’s home show Auster’s family- and of his idea of writing as a form of art, but it can also be seen as a small cycle of life: art (in this case writing) is the result of human energy that derives from the emotional coexistence, from love; so art is the central point of life, is the complete expression of the true essence of the human being.

    Even in this movie we can find the concept of fate and destiny, which creates unpredictable situations that shape lives permanently. The element of dream in this film is very strong: nothing is as it seems and the more obvious things have behind them a strong symbolic meaning. The human psyche sometimes creates a parallel reality that creates in us what we seek outside: Claire is a projection of what Martin wants for his personal and professional life, she is the stimulus that life -and destiny- gives him to regain what he has lost. He becomes again a writer, he is again a man with the power and the desire to imagine, dream and create something that is different from reality. He finds in Jim Fortunato’s ward a noble spirit, and Fortunato represents the mere reality, the resignation that mortifies life and eclipses art (his ward). Although Fortunato writes too, he does not believe in art, he not feels a sudden and terribly strong need to write, create, he does it for narcissism, as a hobby. He has only artistic ambitions that seem ridiculous in comparison to the true Art. The true Art is an elusive art, that lives only in few people, like Martin, who see behind things and understand the essence of Being, without seeing only appearence, without believing only in things that can be seen (Claire exists, but you can’t see her) People who believe in in the power of talismans (the typewriter) not because of a superstition, but because for them they become really instruments of creation. Art in Martin Frost is not an abstract concept: art is Life.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  5. anonimo says:

    ‘The inner life of Martin Frost’ is the movie that I most appreciate even if while I was watching it I didn’t understand all themes. It is about the story of a writer (Martin Frost) who wants to have respite after 3 year writing jag. Suddenly a morning he wakes up beside a woman whose last name is the writer first.

    She is his muse but at first he doesn’t know that. They have long philosophical discussion (she is studying philosophy).

    Martin is writing a short story and when he is near to finish it, the girl gets ill. Martin understands that the only way to keep her alive is to destroy the short story and he does that. But the Muse can’t survive so she suddenly disappears. Martin tries to search her uselessly. He knows Michael Imperioli who writes for hobby and his muse (whose last name is Imperioli’s first, of course). Imperioli’s muse starts to live with the writer and helps him in housework. She sees Martin’s muse who appears in the house: Martin can have his muse back but he can see her only through a mirror.

    In this film there are many references to other films like ‘Ghost’.

    There is a particular feature of each muse; she has for last name the first name of the writer; this is because the muse is part of the artist.

    Sometimes in the film we can see the typewrites spinning in black voids in a hypnotic way. I think this is because Martin Frost is obsessed of writing as also Paul Auster said in some of his interviews.

    Paul Auster attends in this film in two ways: at the beginning we can see some of his pictures in the house as he were the owner of the house, and he is the voice over; so he is not only the director and screenwriter but also he takes part in the film.

    To cut a long story short I found very interesting the way the story is developed and the intertextual connection of the film.

    Federica Battistin

  6. anonimo says:

    Luca Gasparin

    I think that this film is very profound because it enters in the soul of people. At the beginning it could be difficult to understand because it is centred on abstracts concepts, but in the end everything is disclose.

    Among the four films “The inner life of Martin Frost” is the one that I prefer, because it expounds all the problems that a writer could have when he has to write a story. Although the theme of an inspirer Muse is a classic theme, I think that this kind of representation is something nearer to our days and our way of thinking. Another quality of this film is the strange power of love that overcomes the desire of money and success that Martin could have reached if he had sold his book.

  7. anonimo says:

    This movie is so rich in under plot meanings that you may lose the wholeness of the film.

    I think that Auster quotes so many myths and previous literate and tries to fill the film with inner explorations that only him can fully understand what he create.

    Anyway even if you understand only a bit you can percept the main theme: the sacrifice and the fight of Martin to keep real his muse.

    The scene I love the most is when Micheal the plumber leaves his own young muse to Martin that tries to take care of her. For me it means that everyone has his muse but you have to love her and not to treat her badly in order to follow her inspiration, so you have to follow and cultivate your capabilities for being good in what you do.

    Of course the themes of chance and chaos (in this case is all a little bit less accidentally) are always knocking the door to get in the film and direct it … so Auster.

    About the DVD menu design, I think it’s very appropriate because letter and words creates shapes as Claire, the muse, is build with the unwritten words of Martin, the author.

    Francesca Cazorzi

  8. anonimo says:

    I didn’t understand immediately the film; for me it was also difficult to watch. I found the film static; the setting is nice, but there is too much silence; it gives the idea of being in a parallel world where there are only Martin, Claire, Anna James and Fortunato.

    The theme is writing. In the film the spectator enters in the life of the writer (Martin) and gets in touch with a new world.

    I don’t know, I liked the theme,but not the film. It sounds a bit contradictory,but I think that. I can’t explain this…I appreciate the discussion after the film because it make me more clear the film and because I found interesting other people’s lifestyles,but perhaps Auster could have rendered that in a different way,with a film with less tranquillity.

    Very interesting was Martin’s relationship with his muse,very very rich in love and passion.

    Giulia Canzi

  9. anonimo says:

    At the beginning of the film “The inner life of Martin Frost” i hadn’t immediatly undestand the role of Claire.But when i saw that the woman was dying when Martin Frost was finishing the book i had understand that she was a sort of “ispirer muse” that gives the inspiration to the man.Then i support my idea with the adjective “inner” present in the title.When i read the title i immediatly thought that in the film there would be something spiritual.

    Martin Frost searched constantly Claire in their mind,during his dreams.He constantly searched the inspiration that creates new idea in his mind and that makes him live.According to my idea,writing for Martin Frost is a source of happiness,inner peacefulness and serenity.Claire is the symbol of that qualities.

    Denise Martin

  10. anonimo says:


    I found this film very strange and complex. I did not like it very much. It was a mix of classic and modern themes. The muse and the book, love and death.

    I like the DVD menu, it highlights the main words, point and scenes in this film.

  11. anonimo says:

    This film has a nice and interesting plot. At the very beginning I was not sure of the role of the woman. I’ve suspected the girl has something to do with the inner part of the writer, not only because of the title. But as soon as the role of Claire acquired a deeply meaning, i realized she was a muse, HIS MUSE!

    I think two are the most important scenes; the first one is when Claire became sick, too cloose to death, and he decided to burn his latest novel to give her life again, at this very moment he understands she is more than a simple woman.

    Then in the second scene, Auster underlines the importance of the muse and the necessity of ”carpe diem” because nothing lasts for ever, even the inspiration. So, on the way to the hospital a tyre of Martin’s car has a puncture and he is forced to walk down to the first garage asking for help. He leaves Claire in the car, who has just asked him if he was sure of leaving her there alone. Subsequently she runs away in the wood and Martin feels himself alone, without his muse, and he is not able to go on writing. But at the end of the film the muse/Claire comes back, that means that inspiration sometimes is temporary away but at the end it turns back, we do not get demoralized because we don’t achieve our best, everything will be good again.

    ..carla cipolla..

  12. anonimo says:

    The inner life of Martin Frost is emblematic because it explains the origins of inspiration and imagination of an artist.At the beginning of the movie we can see a writer who needs to isolate in a room and stay hours and hours in front of a typewriter to focus and find the inspiration.then he meets a girl,Clair Martin, who at the end of the film turns out to be the muse of the writing,he falls in love with her they stay in contact with nature they read laugh and talk together and he begins to write uninterruptedly.In my opinion through these scenes Paul Auster wants to make the audience understand that inspiration comes from emotions feeling and passions,it’s like a falling in love the artist has to leave the rational part of his mind and let feelings surround him and overwhelm him.i think that even if the actors the setting and the cues were not so involving,the movie has a deep meaning,it shows the essence of the creativity of an artist.but there ere some doubts that hummer the girl only the result of an imagination process,or is she a real human being?does Auster believe that imagination is fed by a spirit that only artists can perceive or is the muse just an invention to depict the features of inspiration?

    Montrasio Valentina

  13. anonimo says:

    I have found the film quite pretentious and incoherent: all the plot is bizarre, the story is wacky and I think that important themes as the exploration of human consciousness and the analysis of our deeper thoughts can’t be polluted with nonsensical and incongruous sketches and contaminated with continuous and harassing “philosophical” references. The idea from which is based the film is doubtless very interesting but also very delicate. As we can understand from the title, the film develops in the line that exist between the real and the unreal, between the events and our most intimate thoughts, our “inner life”. In this case the inner life is the one of Martin Frost, a writer which meet and fall in love with Clair, the woman that embodies the “muse” which inspire him in order to write his masterpiece. Newly Aster plumps into a story which is surely interesting but first of all ambitious and too much self – centred (the story of Martin is the story of Paul, the story of the complex, intricate and elaborate mind of a writer).

    Alessandro Piccin

  14. anonimo says:

    What I like about this film is the setting, the background music and Auster’s voice-over narration.. This last feature in particular struck me: his voice is moving, calm, reassuring. I think the author is the only person who can properly play this role in the film and without his participation I would have certainly found “The Inner Life of Martin Frost” absurd. I absolutely didn’t like the figure of Claire, nor the actress, neither the role played by her: she’s a dominating woman, she submits Martin who, at the beginning tries to keep far from this garrulous and annoying woman but finally is dominated by her. She becomes even more important than his last work, this first short story after a three-year writing jag which he burns as soon as he discovers her life and the completion of the story are tightly connected. Here begins a new part of of the story in which appear other characters (even Auster’s daughter Sophie) and it is characterized by a continuous alternation between reality and fiction/imagination which protracts itself till the end of the film.. A happy-ending? I don’t think so!

    –Maiutto Jessica–

  15. anonimo says:

    The Inner Life of Martin Frost is one of those films that at the end leave me with tons of questions; still today I’ve no answers for all those questions!

    The beginning is quite interesting but a little bit absurd: Martin Frost and Clear Martin weak up in the same bed but they don’t know each other; immediately there are lots of coincidence, fundamental Auster’ s characteristic , like the name of the novelist and the surname of the woman, both are Martin! Than their relationship with the owner of the wonderful house surrounded by flourishing nature! The setting is very pleasant but gives to the story an oneiric dimension: places, voices, music seems to belong to an unreal world, maybe to give the idea of a spiritual world where we can see the inner life of martin frost! .. this is my personal view of this emblematic film where a simple situation develops in one deeper, quite metaphysical! Where the woman take the shape of a muse! A muse that gives birth to Martin’s novels!…Clear is indispensable for Martin, so that he sacrifices his novel in order to save his muse’ s life ; from their meeting come a deep connection between the two, that neither their separation could possibly break up!.

    Even if he can’t see her anymore he can feel her presence.

    There are lots of themes in this film such as love, life and death, writing and imagination , but I’m not able to find a link between all themes of the film and above all I didn’t like the end of the film that is too much false and unreal! And doesn’t give the story a coherent end!

    –Martina Nadal–

  16. anonimo says:

    As soon as i read the title:”The inner life of Martin Frost” i understand that this is a spiritual film.

    The main character,Martin Frost, is a writer and decides to go in a peaceful place where he can find his new inspiration for his new book. For a strange coincidence a beautiful woman,Claire, appears to him in the hause as a GHOST.They fall in love and with the love that he feels for her he finds inspiration.

    The woman is his muse and he can write only if she remains alive. In fact when Martin Frost finishes his book she dies by the cold, but he is immediately ready to burn his masterpiece to mantain his muse alive.


  17. anonimo says:

    From the title you can guess that ‘The inner life of Martin Frost’ is a spiritual film, very silent, because the word ‘inner’ makes me think of something intimate, something private, that you don’t share with other people. In fact I noticed that at the beginning until the mechanic (I think it was) comes on scene, Martin and his muse are the only ones you see on screen. From the first time you see Claire, you immediately understand that she is not a common woman; she speaks in a low voice, almost whispering, she is always sweet and kind, but you cannot say what makes her a strange character.

    It seems that the setting belongs to a parallel world, not to a real dimention: it is immersed in a beautiful, quiet and calm nature, everything is too silent to be real.

    The outlines of the characters aren’t defined, and this gives an oniric dimention to the whole story.

    At the end of the film I came to the conclusion that this events couldn’t possibly happen in the real world: Claire isn’t a real person, but Martin’s inspiration, the special thing that makes him put the words in a poetic way, a quality that only writers have.

    Jana Stefani

  18. anonimo says:

    Well, this film left me quite indifferent, if I weren’t been told I probably wouldn’t never understand the plot of it. Since the two previous film liked me, I was very positive about this film, but by the end of the it I was a little bit disappointed. First of all it started as a normal film but then it turns into a fantastic film, but in my opinion it was too fantastic for the context in which it was. Then this love story between the two, who met just a minute before! It was too unreal and too mawkish. Then the scene when Martin burns his book to make Claire resurrect, the point when the watcher (unfortunately not me) is supposed to understand the whole plot, totally shocked me because I thought I was watching a rational film, from now on it becomes more and more irrational. For these and other reasons I didn’t like this film.

    Riccardo Bagattin.

  19. PaulAuster2008 says:

    And some of you don’t believe in coincidences??? Have you read Simone’s post! Paul Auster would be smiling now (or smirking or sneering) if he read it.

    Some of you are irritated by Paul Auster self-referentiality (e.g. Nicola), others find it alluring. So really different resposes. Francesco’s comments on the film are really to the point, I liked them.

    Francesca’s point as to the intertextual references and to the manu design are to be read and shared, in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.