- Columbia Religion Chair Robert Thurman in an interview with the New York Observer,Oct. 4, 2004
In David O Russell's new film I ♥ Huckabees, Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) hires two existential detectives Bernard and Vivian (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to help discover the significance of three chance meetings with an autograph hunting Sudanese refugee (Ger Duany). Dustin Hoffman's character is loosely based on the director's friend and mentor Robert Thurman who is best known as a colleague of the Dalai Lama and the father of Uma Thurman. Robert Thurman is currently the chair of the religion department at Columbia University. Jason Schwartzman's character can be seen as a fictionalized portrait of the director. In the film the existential mentor helps his client grapple with the concept that everything is in everything else. This idea of interbeing seems so far from our contemporary American culture of strip malls, suburban sprawl and traffic jams that it is comic. And the film is funny. Richly, smartly, philosophically funny. I ♥ Huckabees is a romp- a sort of philosophical, spiritual road movie. But in this film the road is not an exterior ribbon connecting two disparate realities. Instead the road in I ♥ Huckabees is the interior path of interconnectedness.