Review: Anomalisa (2015)

Anomalisa-review

For years Charlie Kaufman has been one of the few people in Hollywood who has, time after time astounded us all with one ingenious project after another. Very few filmmakers have an imagination quite like the one he has nor do they have the ambition to actually go through with bold and daring ideas quite like he does. And his filmography is a reflection of this. Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche New York are all films that encapsulate these daring ideas together to create even daring pieces of art.

With Anomalisa though, Kaufman aims to do his most daring work yet, both on a technical level and an artistic one.

anomalisa

Written by Charlie Kaufman and co-directed by Kaufman and Duke Johnson, Anomalisa follows the story of Michael Stone, an author that specializes in customer service, and a man who is unable to interact deeply with other people. His low sensitivity to excitement, and his lack of interest made him a man with a repetitive life on his own perspective. But, when he went on a business trip, he met a stranger – an extraordinary stranger, which slowly became a cure for his negative view on life that possibly will change his mundane life.

On one hand it’s hard not to appreciate the incredible craft that goes into making Anomalisa. It’s a stop-motion animation film that feels very real and human. More real than most live-action films, even. The sets create an uncannily realistic environment that feels substantive and it is easy to forget that you’re watching an animated film. And it’s just the little nuances and details that make the film so interesting to watch.

Anomalisa review

On the other hand however, Anomalisa is a film that has the tendency to leave you cold and for all the craft gone into making this film, the story just didn’t click with me. My problem with the film is mainly with how banal the narrative is, The film feels relentlessly downbeat and monotone but never really does anything apart from being just that. It presents us with a protagonist who has absolutely no characteristic that makes us sympathize with him and yet expects us to care for him.

Anomalisa is without doubt one of the most inventive and bold films to come out this year but fails to actually go beyond its technical prowess to create a film that’s actually moving. It’s a film that gets really depressing but fails to ever really explain why we should be depressed because there is never really enough to care about here.

6.5/10

-Khalid

 

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11 responses to “Review: Anomalisa (2015)

  1. I also felt depressed after watching it but it really made me think. After and for days to come. I felt that it perfectly portrayed the dark side of humanity and in particular our egotism… I think everyone can relate to at least one of the characters (even though they all sounds the same but that in itself is a profound idea).

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    • Im glad the film resonanted with you becasue it just didnt with me. I can think of many films that brought a similar feeling of getting me depressed and then making me think about them for days, but that just wasnt the case with Anomalisa. It just felt too detached and cold.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was fine. To be perfectly honest I never get why voice acting in movies gets so much praise. I get if someone like Hank Azaria or Dan Castelleta would be praised for their voice-work, they voice hundreds of different characters, i’d even understand if Andy Serkis was praised, but in this film it was nothing particularly special. Jennifer Jason Leigh and David Thewlis were just talking as they would do in normal life.

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  2. Nice one man, I’m looking forward to seeing Anomalisa. You are right, Kaufman can be a divisive filmmaker. People were really high on Synecdoche, NY but that one left me feeling so damn cold and indifferent. Hope that’s not the case here but I consider myself warned 🙂

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    • Thanks man. It’s not the easiest film to connect with and like Synecdoche it really leaves you cold, even more so, I would say. But hey, dont take my word for it, check it out for yourself. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on it

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