I had to just vent this somewhere. Spoilers below of course.
Overall this is a good movie, I think it did what it set out to do quite well, but it is basically a reactionary and insular view of existential dread and depression through aging.
The director is actually very forthcoming about what the film is "really" about, so there isn't much interpretation except death of the author alternate versions of what the movie was about. Kaufman said the movie is mostly the fantasies of the janitor, who is kind of trying to escape his regret and depression by imagining a better life. But in the process, he is basically so depressed and broken that he can't even achieve that. Kaufman kind of suggests he is interested in a wider notion that it can't be achieved at all, but within the movie it is specifically the janitor who can't fantasize. His own fantasy girlfriend kind of looks down on him, isn't totally interested in him, wants to leave him. He can't decide what her name is, how they met, what her career is. He keeps changing his mind about what happens on the night that they go meet his parents. He even inserts himself into his own fantasy as a creep, when the girl and the janitor's younger self kiss in the car and suddenly the younger self notices the janitor peering at them and rages that there is a pervert watching them. Ultimately the movie ends with the janitor killing himself by getting in his car during the blizzard and not turning it on.
So maybe it is obvious why this movie feels like it has a very liberal or even reactionary message, but I'll spell it out anyways. The director, Kaufman, is kind of a pretentious guy. I like a lot of his movies, but he is very concerned with existential crises and memory and identity and stuff. He is a good filmmaker, but I want to highlight how his focus is kind of idealist. I think he has very metaphysical notions of what drives human beings to behave and think the way they do, so to him this movie isn't about a depressed janitor so much as about the human condition. However, the movie is literally about a depressed janitor. Not only that, but the movie has several key lines in it that feel like they almost directly confront and endorse the concrete form the movie takes.
Basically, the movie explores this guy's regret and depression by kind of suggesting that there is no resolution to it, it is just a part of the human condition to have regrets and fear aging. The viewer just watchPost too long. Click here to view the full text.