A few years ago, I spoke to Writer/Director Charlie Kaufman after a soul-searching event where he indicated his fears about not having anything new to say. I urged him to continue his great work without fear. However, after seen his new film Anomalisa, I’m wondering if I should have kept my mouth shut.
It’s not that it’s a total failure. Indeed, some are heralding it as a “masterpiece.” And, I must say, the animation technique is truly exceptional. However, the story is a “piece” of a different kind.
The main character, Michael Stone (David Thewlis’ voice), is a motivational speaker, who is majorly depressed. Not knowing in advance that Tom Noonan was doing all but one of the other voices, I wasn’t sure whether or not he had been a homosexual because his past love sounded like she became a transgender, since he walked out on her. Why the male voice was used did not make sense unless it was some comment that we are all the same. Really?
I was, also, confused that, despite the wonderful animation, all the characters had weird lines on their faces; that is, until, late in the film, when Stone’s face, below his nose, fell off and exposed a robot-like skull. A comment that we are all robots? Please.
In any case, whether you know about the one-voice of all but Stone and his sexual bent or not, the first 40 minutes of the film are a complete bore.
Thankfully, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s voice comes from a woman Stone meets at the convention where he is to speak and saves the film from being a disaster; that and a strangely erotic sex scene between her character and Stone.
If you’re in to new animation formats and Jennifer Jason Leigh, as am I, you might want to see this film; otherwise, forget it. I give Anomalisa a 2.5 out of 5.