From the director of 'Synecdoche, New York' and writer of 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' comes adult animation 'Anomalisa', his first work for a long anticipated seven years.
Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis), a middle aged author on customer service, suffers from a life of mundanity. On the night of a business trip, he meets Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh) and sees something special in her, believing that she is the answer to the problems of his troubling life.
From the raindrops on the taxi window to the hotel room decor, there is an attention to detail that gives a strong sense of realism that at times you do forget that these are felt puppets in a stop motion animation.
Though the plot is slow and seemingly not much happens for the first part, or act, shall we say, it does explore Michael's character and provides a bit of back story. The way he speaks to the cab driver, the hotel receptionist and when he orders room service, however mundane, reveals something about his character.
However, it is in the second act that 'Anomalisa' sweeps you up. As Michael meets Lisa, their intimate conversation gives a glimpse of their individual psyches and what each of them are looking for in the other. As they physically engage with one another in one of the most real sex scenes ever in animation, there's a bit of awkwardness, a bit of anxiety and things don't always go as smoothly at first as Hollywood would like you to believe.
As the movie moves into the third act and the finale, themes familiar to Kaufman fans unavoidably surface, and in the most abrupt way, the movie ends with such anti-climax, it leaves you slightly flabbergasted.
For me, my appreciation of the movie definitely focuses on the artistry of the craft and I am still formulating my thoughts to what it could mean.
'Anomalisa' is an intriguing film that requires some patience. The beauty of the puppetry and animation combined with interesting themes of relationships and the Fregoli delusion offers a strong premise, unfortunately let down by an abrupt ending that could have packed more of a punch.
Nonetheless, the movie breaks new ground in the animation genre, delivering one of the most realistic sex scenes in recent memory, and proves that this isn't a genre just for kids.