This is the story of Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis), a middle aged business guru travelling to speak at a conference. But he feels disconnected from the world – everyone looks and sounds the same. That is until he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and things start to change.
As with so many of Charlie Kaufman’s films, Anomalisa is a study of mental imbalance and neuroses told through a unique visual style with offbeat humour. This time the note-perfect screenplay is brought to life through stop motion animation which creates two of the most real film characters ever.
The effort put into the film’s painstaking production pays off through the beautiful animation. The models look incredibly real, except for a split in the face to give the impression of a mask. But this isn’t why the characters are so believable. It’s because they come across as imperfect humans, in a sweet and sincere romance.
The fact that everyone other than our two main characters has the same face and voice is something which connects this film closely to Being John Malkovich (you know the scene I’m talking about). But it also connects closely to the puppet motif of that film – with the animation being used to represent the idea of a mask, in the same way as the puppets, and Malkovich himself, are a front for John Cusack’s character.
Gloriously animated, emotionally poetic and dryly comedic, Anomalisa is Charlie Kaufman’s best film since Synecdoche, New York in 2008. Actually it’s his only film since Synecdoche, New York – but it was definitely worth the wait.