I missed Anomalisa at Fantastic Fest back in September, and I’ve been impatiently waiting to see it ever since. Mostly because it looks neat and I really dig Charlie Kaufman (he wrote the film and co-directed it with Duke Johnson).
I’m admittedly pretty undecided in regards to exactly how I feel about Anomalisa. I certainly adore the film’s charming and creative animation style, and I like its subtle sense of humor. It also has a simple story that’s easy enough to engage in – a man named Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) is in the midst of an existential crisis while on a business trip in Cincinnati. The biggest part of the film though is its characters (naturally), and I’m split on what to think. Michael has a lot of interesting things going on in his head, but he’s such a miserable person that I frequently found myself more annoyed than enamored with him. I also felt the same way about Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh), the girl he meets on the trip, who is equally tortured. Both are being pulled down by a subject that’s universally relatable (life), but they’re each so self-involved that I found them both dull and agitating. Or maybe that’s the point of it all? Perhaps Charlie Kaufman’s take on life is that it wouldn’t be so hard if we could get out of our heads and try to live? Or maybe I just can’t get behind such whiny people who choose to let their problems crush them instead of trying to make things better? I don’t know. Regardless, the point is that the film’s characters were an issue for me.
Anomalisa is definitely a Charlie Kaufman film, as it left me all mixed up. See it because you could probably use a good challenge.
One Last Thought:
There’s full frontal nudity in Anomalisa, and for whatever reason I found it to be really odd. This is what I thought while it was happening.