Anomalisa – An Anomaly Of A Film…

…Which seems to be a very intelligent joke. The brainchild of Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptaion, Being John MalkovichAnomalisa  is a  stop-motion animated film that revolves around the main character Michael’s  (voiced by David Thewlis) comfortable yet boring life. Emotionally numb and lacking in emotion, he robotically trundles through his comfortable upper class life, until he meets a woman named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). She awakens in him unrecognizable feelings propelling the story forward. The film itself is achingly beautiful – a viewing is worth just the production value alone. The stop-motion animation is so intentional, so deliberate that I was constantly reminded that nothing was accidental. The lighting, the background, every movement down to eyes blinking was meticulously calculated. For this reason I recommend the film. It truly is an experience to watch, and adds a richness to the niche of artistic film. However, its glaring fault lies in the story. It seems the metaphor this film hinges on – tragically revealed in the last scene – has been stretched out from what would be a perfect 20-30 minute short to a slow burning, not much happening 1 hour and 30 minutes. The first scene in a taxi cab and later a  love scene (yes, there is one. And no, it was not creepy – rather tender and intimate) was much, much too long.  If the script was performed by real actors – I guarantee it would not have gotten an Oscar nomination. It pains me to say this as I am huge fan of Kaufman’s and really wanted to like it, but to me it seemed like an elegant way of showcasing stop – motion animation technique and production. My advice is to definitely watch the film – but focus on the technique and ridiculous amount of work that went into producing it. Don’t get too caught up in the story or you will inevitably feel disappointed. So, I recommend – as a rental, and without too much expectation. Just get lost in the beauty of the art, and you will enjoy it just fine.

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