Anomalisa

"Essential"

Anomalisa Review


As he did in films like Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Charlie Kaufman continues to explore the nature of human identity in this bracingly original stop-motion animated feature. It's an exquisitely crafted drama following a man and woman who find a way to see beyond the sameness of the world around them. And with his co-director Duke Johnson, Kaufman creates a witty, complex, dreamlike world that's unashamedly aimed at grown-ups.

It's the story of Michael (voiced by David Thewlis), an efficiency expert who travels to Cincinnati to deliver a lecture at a conference. But his mind is preoccupied with Bella, an ex who lives there. He phones his wife and son to clear his conscience before arranging to meet Bella in his hotel. Then later that evening he runs into Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a fan of his book who feels like such an anomaly that she can't quite believe that Michael might be interested in her. But there's a spark of attraction between them, something that feels rare in this soft, bland place.

This is a story about how life is essentially selfish and lonely, only livened up by hopeful connections we make with the people around us. Yes, it's sometimes rather bleak and dark, but it's also breathtakingly honest. And the film is packed with staggeringly clever touches that touch on ideas in ways that cut right through to our hearts (we'll never year Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in quite the same way again). Aside from Michael and Lisa, all of the characters are voiced by Tom Noonan, a stylistic flourish that feels gimmicky until its meaning becomes clear. As played out by these delicately crafted puppets on remarkably detailed sets, the film looks simply astonishing. It's almost hyper-realistic, with characters who are packed with visible quirks that echo in the actors' vocal performances.

Michael and Lisa are both yearning for a connection, worried that it may never come. This is a feeling everyone can identify with, whether or not we're willing to admit it. So the film's awkward interaction and muted sense of hope feel almost unnervingly truthful. As does the idea that we spend most of our lives trying to hide who we really are from everyone else, blending in with the herd while desperately looking for authenticity. Yes, there are profound ideas in every corner of this movie, and in its simple story of two people trying to come together, Kaufman has created a visually beautiful film with such a powerful surge of emotional resonance that it will forever change the way we see ourselves.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Anomalisa:



Anomalisa

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 21st January 2016

Box Office USA: $2.4M

Distributed by: Starburns Industries

Production compaines: Starburns Industries

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 163 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Duke Johnson

Producer: , Duke Johnson, Dino Stamatopoulos, Rosa Tran

Starring: as Lisa (voice), as Michael (voice), as Everyone else (voice)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.