Cert: 15 Runtime: 90 mins Director: Charlie Kaufman Cast: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh & Tom Noonan
Our time is limited, we forget that
Charlie Kaufman is an acclaimed writer and Anomalisa is only his second directorial film! It was nominated for an Academy award in 2016 and has received some high praises from the cinema going community. So what is Anomalisa about? ChMichael Stone (David Thewlis), husband, father and respected author of “How May I Help You Help Them?” is a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, where he”s scheduled to speak at a convention of customer service professionals, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. There, he is amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who may or may not be the love of his life.The animation and the technical aspect of the movie has gotten lots of praise, and it’s all deserved. It’s also appreciated that the animation was used for a reason, and that reason not being eye candy, or a necessity due to the content. Instead, it functions as an extra layer, an extension of the themes of the movie.
That said, they also do play around with it, and try to make it as gorgeous as possible.Based on Kaufman’s previous work, it’s hard not to see this as personal movie, and see the Michael Stone character as some sort of reflection of Kaufman. Obviously he is not him, but watching Stone navigating praise and expectations from the other people in the hotel, and justifying his difficult emotions despite the love that surround him – these are human problems that you can have without being famous, and possible even more when you are.This movie made me think about depression, and while it might not be what Kaufman was going for (or maybe it was?), it must surely be in the same ball park. The Stone character can not get out of his own head, or face “reality”. He knows how messed up his situation is, but sees no way out of it. What glimmer of hope he can find, he holds on to – but the solution to his problems is not something outside of him. Which is a truth that must be devastating to face.This is, amongst other things, a funny movie. Not from start to finish, and not every scene. But one of the tools in Kaufmans box is making you laugh despite the dark situation.