by | Jan 22, 2016 | 0 comments

An Intensly Creative Film That Pushes A Bit Too Much to Extremes.

Animation has always been relegated as a medium for children’s stories. Pixar has tried to bend that rule and has proven many wrong with last years’ Inside Out. Charlie Kaufman’s latest outing, Anomalisa, also goes into proving that animation can be for adults as much as kids.

Anomalisa is the story of Michael Stone (David Thewlis), a popular author who is traveling to Cincinnati to talk about the success of his book about customer service. He is a mildly depressed, middle-aged man who doesn’t see anyone else in the world as original or different. However, at the hotel where he is staying, Michael meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a simple looking woman, who seems to be the most unique person that Michael has ever met.

Anomalisa is bold in its storytelling; in order to achieve the similarity with every other character in the story, Kaufman has them all voiced by Tom Noonan. So essentially you hear the same voice come out of the waitress, Michael’s ex, Michael’s wife, and even his son. This makes Lisa seem as unique to us as she is to Michael. And the story itself is very simplistic in the most Richard Linklater-esque way. However, I think that Kaufman loses his balance in this aspect a bit.

There are some great parts in this film where Kaufman takes some everyday details and makes them seem unique. He manages to take a normal character, and a normal life, and has us extremely intrigued by it. But, unlike Linklater, he isn’t able to restrain himself, so that there are some scenes that appear to drag on forever, and others that are tmi (puppet sex?). While I understand that Kaufman is trying to be bold and doesn’t want to shy away from the simplicities of life, there is a necessary balance in everything, and unfortunately he sometimes went overboard with it here.

In the end the message in the film is beautiful, as well as the complicated animation. The story is very creatively crafted as well, but there are some narrative and structural aspects that Kaufman overdoes so that he steps out of the “bold” limelight, and into the “weird” one.







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