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

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