By Peyton Sanders
“Anomalisa” marks another distinctive and shyly provocative cinematic landmark in Charlie Kaufman’s filmography. The filmmaker that produced and wrote films such as “Lost in Translation” and “Adaptation” has teamed with stop-motion animator, Duke Johnson, to bring another introspective and purposefully mystical portrayal of human interaction.
The plot centers on a monotonous and dreary self-help guru named Michael Stone that specializes in customer service. Through most of the duration of the film, we watch as he spends the night in a hotel in Cincinnati before delivering a speech to telemarketers. Everyone that has surrounded him, including his wife and son, are perpetual reminders of the dull and repetitive life he lives. That is until he meets a young woman who appears to be exactly what he needs to be happy.
The film is decisively different than most films in the past decade and will no-doubt receive a fair amount of flack for being a part of a newfangled hipster-genre. But there is a massive difference in films that retain their formulaic plot with images and scenes thrown in haphazardly in order to appear original and “Anomalisa,” which uses its uncanny uniqueness to its benefit.
The film transcends its obvious surface-level peculiarity into a film that is arguably more anchored in humanity than most live-action films we’ve seen recently. And it includes a sex scene with more intimacy, vulnerability, and sheer honesty that will make an audience member forget that he or she is in fact watching puppets. “Anomalisa” is only playing in select theaters across the country but will undoubtedly receive a worthy following throughout the year.
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