ANOMALISA

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

What is Anomalisa? In a sane world, we’d like to think you’ve learned to trust us enough by now for us to tell you to go and beg, steal or borrow (or preferably just buy) a copy of this quite remarkable, quietly-subversive stop-motion black comedy/drama and make of it what you will. But recent/current events boldly remind us that this is a far from sane world and in that respect, at least, Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa is a film both in accord with and yet utterly at odds with the crazy-paving sensibilities of life in the 21st century.

We should know what to expect by now from Charlie Kaufman – and also what not to expect. Often regarded as one of the best and boldest of contemporary screenwriters, Kaufman has more than set out his creative stall in challenging titles such as Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. They’re all demanding and esoteric movies but they continually reward the effort required by the viewer to get to grips with them, to wrestle their warped and twisted worlds into something we recognise and feel comfortable with. Anomalisa – directed by Kaufman and stop-motion specialist Duke Johnson – is in some ways the auteur’s most direct and uncomplicated movie, a tale of modern day ennui and restlessness, of middle-age discontent and desperation, a world of stultifying sameness and monotonous routine. Realised with startlingly-accomplished stop motion which quickly doesn’t feel like stop-motion, Anomalisa is an everyman story for our times, a tale as beautifully uplifting as it is cautionary and occasionally disconcerting.

David Thewlis voices English-born customer services expert Michael Stone who travels to Cincinatti for an overnight stay, promoting his latest book at a local convention for business delegates. Michael is a troubled man, full of aching despair and emotional exhaustion. In Michael’s world everyone sounds the same – men, women and children all speak to Michael in dull, flat male tones (Tom Noonan provides the voice of virtually all the supporting characters – off-putting enough in itself). Trapped and alone in his bland, faceless hotel room, Michael hooks up for a drink with an ex-girlfriend who still lives locally. The rendezvous doesn’t end well and, back at his hotel, Michael is elated to hear a different voice, a new voice. This is Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and she’s staying at the hotel with her friend and she’s quite the fan of Michael’s work. The trio hit the bar for drinks and at the end of the night Michael invites Lisa back to his room. He’s captivated by her, her insouciance, the facial scar she tries to hide with her hair, her refreshing lack of self-awareness. She’s an anomaly in his life so he christens her Anomalisa. They spend the night together – their intimacy is quite refreshingly awkward and fumbling – but Michael is troubled by a terrifying dream. In the morning he resolves to leave his wife and start a new life with Lisa/Anomalisa… until a strange transformation slowly begins as Michael realises that leaving his old life won’t be as easy as he might have hoped and that his little anomaly might not be quite so different after all.

Some might argue that Anoamlisa isn’t STARBURST material. At first blush this might just look like the story of a middle-aged man suffering a crisis and struggling to find his place in the world, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is. But isn’t that, for example, pretty much exactly what superhero cinema is all about?  Captain America, Superman, the X-Men and Co. are outsiders, they don’t fit in, they don’t really belong in the modern world of men. But Anomalisa is set in the here-and-now of the lumpily mundane and what shapes and defines the film is the way it tells its story, the faultless animation, the pin-sharp voice performances, the wonderfully-nuanced script – poignant, funny, dramatic, disturbing and, perhaps most importantly, open to interpretation entirely dependent upon the circumstances of the viewer. It’s a film with its own unique voice and vision, a film which, if you let it into your life, has the genuine capacity to change that life or at least make you stop and think about it and the way you live it and the people who share it with you. Anomalisa is a rich, rewarding and important movie, an underrated and undervalued modern classic which won’t be to everyone’s taste but will remain close to the heart of those who can embrace it and whom will find some new nuance in it with every viewing. And, believe us, you’ll watch this more than once. Genuinely outstanding.

Special Features: Q&A with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson / Thirteen featurettes / TV spot / Photo gallery / Trailer

ANOMALISA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: CHARLIE KAUFMAN, DUKE JOHNSON / SCREENPLAY: CHARLIE KAUFMAN / STARRING: DAVID THEWLIS, JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, TOM NOONAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

What is Anomalisa? In a sane world, we’d like to think you’ve learned to trust us enough by now for us to tell you to go and beg, steal or borrow (or preferably just buy) a copy of this quite remarkable, quietly-subversive stop-motion black comedy/drama and make of it what you will. But recent/current events boldly remind us that this is a far from sane world and in that respect, at least, Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa is a film both in accord with and yet utterly at odds with the crazy-paving sensibilities of life in the 21st century. 
We should know what to expect by now from Charlie Kaufman – and also what not to expect. Often regarded as one of the best and boldest of contemporary screenwriters, Kaufman has more than set out his creative stall in challenging titles such as Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. They’re all demanding and esoteric movies but they continually reward the effort required by the viewer to get to grips with them, to wrestle their warped and twisted worlds into something we recognise and feel comfortable with. Anomalisa – directed by Kaufman and stop-motion specialist Duke Johnson – is in some ways the auteur’s most direct and uncomplicated movie, a tale of modern day ennui and restlessness, of middle-age discontent and desperation, a world of stultifying sameness and monotonous routine. Realised with startlingly-accomplished stop motion which quickly doesn’t feel like stop-motion, Anomalisa is an everyman story for our times, a tale as beautifully uplifting as it is cautionary and occasionally disconcerting.
David Thewlis voices English-born customer services expert Michael Stone who travels to Cincinatti for an overnight stay, promoting his latest book at a local convention for business delegates. Michael is a troubled man, full of aching despair and emotional exhaustion. In Michael’s world everyone sounds the same – men, women and children all speak to Michael in dull, flat male tones (Tom Noonan provides the voice of virtually all the supporting characters – off-putting enough in itself). Trapped and alone in his bland, faceless hotel room, Michael hooks up for a drink with an ex-girlfriend who still lives locally. The rendezvous doesn’t end well and, back at his hotel, Michael is elated to hear a different voice, a new voice. This is Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and she’s staying at the hotel with her friend and she’s quite the fan of Michael’s work. The trio hit the bar for drinks and at the end of the night Michael invites Lisa back to his room. He’s captivated by her, her insouciance, the facial scar she tries to hide with her hair, her refreshing lack of self-awareness. She’s an anomaly in his life so he christens her Anomalisa. They spend the night together – their intimacy is quite refreshingly awkward and fumbling – but Michael is troubled by a terrifying dream. In the morning he resolves to leave his wife and start a new life with Lisa/Anomalisa… until a strange transformation slowly begins as Michael realises that leaving his old life won’t be as easy as he might have hoped and that his little anomaly might not be quite so different after all.
Some might argue that Anoamlisa isn’t STARBURST material. At first blush this might just look like the story of a middle-aged man suffering a crisis and struggling to find his place in the world, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is. But isn’t that, for example, pretty much exactly what superhero cinema is all about?  Captain America, Superman, the X-Men and Co. are outsiders, they don’t fit in, they don’t really belong in the modern world of men. But Anomalisa is set in the here-and-now of the lumpily mundane and what shapes and defines the film is the way it tells its story, the faultless animation, the pin-sharp voice performances, the wonderfully-nuanced script – poignant, funny, dramatic, disturbing and, perhaps most importantly, open to interpretation entirely dependent upon the circumstances of the viewer. It’s a film with its own unique voice and vision, a film which, if you let it into your life, has the genuine capacity to change that life or at least make you stop and think about it and the way you live it and the people who share it with you. Anomalisa is a rich, rewarding and important movie, an underrated and undervalued modern classic which won’t be to everyone’s taste but will remain close to the heart of those who can embrace it and whom will find some new nuance in it with every viewing. And, believe us, you’ll watch this more than once.  Genuinely outstanding. 
Special Features: Q&A with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson / Thirteen featurettes / TV spot / Photo gallery / Trailer
ANOMALISA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: CHARLIE KAUFMAN, DUKE JOHNSON / SCREENPLAY: CHARLIE KAUFMAN / STARRING: DAVID THEWLIS, JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, TOM NOONAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOWWhat is Anomalisa? In a sane world, we’d like to think you’ve learned to trust us enough by now for us to tell you to go and beg, steal or borrow (or preferably just buy) a copy of this quite remarkable, quietly-subversive stop-motion black comedy/drama and make of it what you will. But recent/current events boldly remind us that this is a far from sane world and in that respect, at least, Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa is a film both in accord with and yet utterly at odds with the crazy-paving sensibilities of life in the 21st century.

We should know what to expect by now from Charlie Kaufman – and also what not to expect. Often regarded as one of the best and boldest of contemporary screenwriters, Kaufman has more than set out his creative stall in challenging titles such as Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. They’re all demanding and esoteric movies but they continually reward the effort required by the viewer to get to grips with them, to wrestle their warped and twisted worlds into something we recognise and feel comfortable with. Anomalisa – directed by Kaufman and stop-motion specialist Duke Johnson – is in some ways the auteur’s most direct and uncomplicated movie, a tale of modern day ennui and restlessness, of middle-age discontent and desperation, a world of stultifying sameness and monotonous routine. Realised with startlingly-accomplished stop motion which quickly doesn’t feel like stop-motion, Anomalisa is an everyman story for our times, a tale as beautifully uplifting as it is cautionary and occasionally disconcerting.

David Thewlis voices English-born customer services expert Michael Stone who travels to Cincinatti for an overnight stay, promoting his latest book at a local convention for business delegates. Michael is a troubled man, full of aching despair and emotional exhaustion. In Michael’s world everyone sounds the same – men, women and children all speak to Michael in dull, flat male tones (Tom Noonan provides the voice of virtually all the supporting characters – off-putting enough in itself). Trapped and alone in his bland, faceless hotel room, Michael hooks up for a drink with an ex-girlfriend who still lives locally. The rendezvous doesn’t end well and, back at his hotel, Michael is elated to hear a different voice, a new voice. This is Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and she’s staying at the hotel with her friend and she’s quite the fan of Michael’s work. The trio hit the bar for drinks and at the end of the night Michael invites Lisa back to his room. He’s captivated by her, her insouciance, the facial scar she tries to hide with her hair, her refreshing lack of self-awareness. She’s an anomaly in his life so he christens her Anomalisa. They spend the night together – their intimacy is quite refreshingly awkward and fumbling – but Michael is troubled by a terrifying dream. In the morning he resolves to leave his wife and start a new life with Lisa/Anomalisa… until a strange transformation slowly begins as Michael realises that leaving his old life won’t be as easy as he might have hoped and that his little anomaly might not be quite so different after all.

Some might argue that Anoamlisa isn’t STARBURST material. At first blush this might just look like the story of a middle-aged man suffering a crisis and struggling to find his place in the world, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is. But isn’t that, for example, pretty much exactly what superhero cinema is all about?  Captain America, Superman, the X-Men and Co. are outsiders, they don’t fit in, they don’t really belong in the modern world of men. But Anomalisa is set in the here-and-now of the lumpily mundane and what shapes and defines the film is the way it tells its story, the faultless animation, the pin-sharp voice performances, the wonderfully-nuanced script – poignant, funny, dramatic, disturbing and, perhaps most importantly, open to interpretation entirely dependent upon the circumstances of the viewer. It’s a film with its own unique voice and vision, a film which, if you let it into your life, has the genuine capacity to change that life or at least make you stop and think about it and the way you live it and the people who share it with you. Anomalisa is a rich, rewarding and important movie, an underrated and undervalued modern classic which won’t be to everyone’s taste but will remain close to the heart of those who can embrace it and whom will find some new nuance in it with every viewing. And, believe us, you’ll watch this more than once.  Genuinely outstanding.

Special Features: Q&A with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson / Thirteen featurettes / TV spot / Photo gallery / Trailer

ANOMALISA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: CHARLIE KAUFMAN, DUKE JOHNSON / SCREENPLAY: CHARLIE KAUFMAN / STARRING: DAVID THEWLIS, JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, TOM NOONAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


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