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Anomalisa review

2015
 Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson
Starring David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan





Living in a medium size city has its advantages and its disadvantages. The traffic is almost nonexistent but the food is kind of crappy and sometimes you have to drive a couple hours if your taste in film and music veers outside the multiplex offerings and whatever Sam Goody stocks. Is Sam Goody still a thing?

Today I drove 204 miles round trip to see Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson's Anomalisa. I'm not pointing that out as some sort of geek pissing contest but to underscore how truly remarkable this film is. I spent more time on the road than in the theater and I want to go again. This film transcends the animation medium and tells one of the most deeply personal stories I've seen in years.

Michael Stone (Thewlis) is a self help guru who specializes in customer service and is out of town on business. After attempting to reconnect with an old flame Michael crosses paths with Lisa (Leigh) who is staying at his hotel and attending his seminar the following morning. All the ancillary characters  in the film are voiced by Noonan and given the same face. This simple choice illustrates how infatuation works in a way that would not have been possible in a live action film.

The story is essentially about the fleeting promises of a one night stand. About how we use one another and lie to ourselves as a way of justifying our selfish actions. How does someone who seems so utterly remarkable become so utterly common in the course of a few hours? If you chased someone only to lose interest once you caught them this film might hit close to home.






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