Anomalisa - This Movie Stop Motion Rocks
Dir: Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman
Starring the voices of David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
Anomalisa is a remarkable film. Not least because it contains the first ever (we presume) oral sex scene between two claymation figures in a major motion picture. (Wallace & Gromit this aint!) It is remarkable in the way it uses its decidedly non-human form to capture that most human, and contemporary of things, a mid life crisis, bordering on breakdown.
Charlie Kaufman has long been a writer who delves deep into the troubled psyche of men – from the absurd misplacement in the world of Being John Malkovich, to the profound sense of loss he generated in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Here he is accompanied by a superb vocal performance from David Thewlis as motivational speaker and author on customer relations Michael Stone, away from his increasingly meaningless marriage and quite genuinely desperately believing himself to find solace and more in casual fling Lisa (voiced to perfection by Jennifer Jason Leigh.) The sublimely uncertain tones of Tom Noonan supply all the other voices, especially the women!
It’s not just that these people’s thoughts and motivations are identifiable, it’s the fact that they are being portrayed by the totally unnatural form of stop motion models, yet still display often deep and sincere emotion to the point where you start to forget the form and really feel involved with these “people.”
Ultimately, as with most subtle mid-life crisis cinema, nothing really changes, people jus accept their lot in the world. It is bitter sweet, with an almost palpably sad sense of inevitability, something that both lead actors convey with delicate ease.
But this is still a remarkable – if almost deliberately depressing – achievement.
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