Director and writer Charlie Kaufman once again pushes the boundaries of filmmaking in his latest film “Anomalisa.”
“Anomalisa,” a stop-motion drama film, follows author Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) as he travels to Cincinnati to promote his latest, but along the way finds himself in a midlife-crisis-esque adventure to understand why he is unhappy with his life.
Everyone that Stone encounters has the same face and voice (Tom Noonan), representing the emptiness that he finds in his relationships and interactions with other people.
Even after meeting up with an old flame, Stone cannot find the pleasure or happiness that he had experienced earlier in his life.
After drunkenly embarrassing himself in front of his old girlfriend, Stone returns to his hotel floor and hears a female voice that is different than everyone else’s.
He rushes to the room that the voice is coming from and finds Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh), an insecure young woman.
Stone spends the night with her, and once again finds the happiness he had felt before; but, like his previous experiences, it slowly starts to fade.
The film, like much of Kaufman’s other work, is entirely unique and unlike anything cinema has presented this year.
The story is equal parts beautiful and sad, and it presents very realistic human emotions in an abstract way.
Stone struggles to find happiness and companionship in every corner of his life.
When it seems like Stone has found everything that he’s been searching for, he can’t get out of his own head.
Kaufman chronicles the bittersweet search for love and acceptance that humans are inevitably and constantly involved with.
As a film, “Anomalisa” is nearly perfect.
The use of stop-motion animation is a refreshing change from the overuse of 3D animation in most mainstream animated films. The film provides a clear reflection of the abstractness of the viewer’s mind.
The voice that Kaufman presents is singular in focus and doesn’t get lost in its own complexities, creating a structure that’s easy to follow.
There’s a clearly constructed flow of building sympathy for Stone, that turns into relatability and then to despair at the idea that he’s creating his own suffering and doesn’t even realize it.
Kaufman, once again, creates a film that expresses what everyone is thinking but never knew how to talk about.