By GIOIA SACCO
A combination of love, drama and emotion is brought to the big screen by directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson in their latest movie, “Anomalisa”. This film brings an adult twist to stop motion animation and leaves audiences wanting more. Johnson and Kaufman’s masterful directing is certainly impressive and the unique style of this film makes it memorable.
The film focuses on Michael Stone (David Thewlis), the author of a book called “How May I Help You Help Them”. The film begins with Michael traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio to promote his book. Right off the bat the audience is able to tell that Michael is emotionally distant from others, which is expressed by everyone he encounters having the same voice (Tom Noonan).
When Michael attempts to go over his speech the night before his presentation, he gets distracted and calls his ex girlfriend, Bella. Looking for an escape from his constant boredom, Michael asks her to meet him for a drink that night. As the night progresses, Bella soon finds out that he is only looking for a brief distraction. She storms out of the bar, leaving Stone alone and miserable once again.
Once Michael is back in his room, he hears a voice while in the shower that stands out from the rest. Knocking on doors and sprinting down hallways, he relentlessly searches for this mysterious voice. Eventually he stumbles upon two women, one of whom is the voice Michael heard. Her name is Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Michael is immediately infatuated with Lisa and intrigued by different she is. Michael invites the two women for a drink. From here, Michael’s relationship with Lisa blossoms.
Audiences do not usually see scenes of an intimate nature in animated films. “Anomalisa” breaks this trend and brings a whole new layer to this genre, which is refreshing. Although, Kaufman was nervous about how people would react.
“When we made the (romantic scenes) and we had our first screening before it was even finished. We showed it to friends and family and there was lots of laughter. When we got to the sex scene and it’s completely quiet I was sitting there and I was thinking ‘Oh, this is boring, this scene is not working,’ and then afterwards people came up and said ‘This is the most realistic sex scene,’ and that for me, is when I realized that this scene had an effect on people,” said Kaufman.
Lisa and Michaels relationship is not portrayed as graphic, but rather emotional. The entire audience will be fascinated by the way in which the relationship is depicted. In today’s society, emotional connections between people can be rare. Through witnessing Michael and Lisa’s relationship, audiences will see the importance of establishing a special connection with a significant other.
“We wanted it to be emotionally authentic and to portray the characters the way that they’re throughout this scene. It is a natural progression from the moment they walk in that room to that point,” said Johnson. “ I think what’s great about it to me. What I’m hearing is how shocked people are by it and they’re using the term graphic to describe it and I think what’s interesting about it is that it’s not graphic. Like what you would traditionally think a sex scene is? It’s graphic in an emotional way. It’s authentically emotional and that feels shocking to people because that is not what they normally see.”
“Anomalisa” is a truly amazing film and showcases realistic points and emotions, brought to life through puppets. This film is a must see for 2016 and will leave viewers thinking long after the film ends. This ninety minute long film has a remarkable ending, helping them to understanding the title of the film.