ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Cartoons & Animation

Anomalisa

Updated on March 25, 2016
Stevennix2001 profile image

Steven Escareno is an amateur film critic that writes about movies in his spare time.

Anomalisa

Directors: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Writer: Charlie Kaufman

Voice Cast: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

Synopsis: A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language

Stevennix2001's Rating:

9.9 / 10

Pros:

- Great animation. Excellent visual effects.

- Camera work was great.

- Use of voice acting was unique. Kind of strange getting used to at first, but it definitely helped the movie, in terms of it's narrative.

- The script was amazing. Chalked full of symbolism and metaphors about the complexities of life itself, while making us ponder the true meaning of existence.

- Pacing was great.

- Direction was fantastic.

Cons:

- One particular scene was kind of unnecessary. Like the sex scene for instance didn't really serve any purpose to the story other than allow it's audience to see two puppets have sex for five seconds; complete with puppet genitalia.....

Personally, I think the film could've just had them make out, and then transition to where they're both cuddling in bed naked; hence giving the implied notion that they had sex rather than actually showing us. and it would've worked just fine.

Arguably the weirdest damn animated movie that you'll ever see

Whether you love or hate Charlie Kaufman's style of writing, you have to admit that some of his work can give you something to think about. Before I start this review, I would like to say that I've been something of a fan of his work for quite sometime. Dating back to when I first saw "Being John Malkovich", to his surprisingly weird yet deep artsy drama, "Adaptation." Hell, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" still remains one of my all time favorite love stories to this date, so I'm certainly no stranger to Charlie's body of work.

While I'm not going to pretend that I've seen everything he's ever made, I will say that I haven't seen anything that he's done yet that I haven't liked before. And "Anomalisa" seems to be no exception. The story is an adult animated movie done entirely in stop motion animation. Unlike most stop motion movies, you can actually see the little crevices and joints on all of the puppets being used. In fact, the movie itself doesn't even try to hide the fact that they're puppets.

In a couple of dream sequences, you see the main character's jaw literally popping off, which sort of suggests that the movie itself might be self aware of this fact. Apart from the main character, almost everyone else has the same voice, as it's suggested throughout the film that almost everyone isn't real except for him. It's a strange movie indeed, as it alludes to various abstract concepts like individuality, and how sometimes we often pine for things that we can't have in life.

The story follows a character by the name of Michael Stone (David Thewlis), who's miserable in his marriage. He goes from relationship to relationship pining for something better, yet it never quite works out for him. He can never seem to explain why, but all that changes when he meets Lisa Hesselman (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a girl that somehow doesn't sound like everyone else. In fact, she actually sounds like a real woman, which makes both her and Michael the only two people that have distinct voices throughout the entire movie, while everyone else is voiced by Tom Noonan.

Needless to say, the two fall madly in love with each other overnight, and Michael even agrees to leave his wife and son just to be with her, as she seems different than anyone else he's ever met. She's an anomaly to him because of how perfect and modest she is; hence the nickname "Anomalisa." However, he starts to have bizarre hallucinations and nightmares. It becomes heavily implied that their fates are not of their own, and that someone or something wants to keep them apart. He becomes so trapped by these hallucinations and dreams that he starts to question the fabric of his own reality. He even starts to wonder if anyone is real at all.

That perhaps both him and Lisa are the only real human beings that exist, and that some grand puppet master wants to keep him from her. He even had a dream where his jaw literally pops off his face; hence adding more fuel to his paranoia. It eventually gets to the point that he starts to realize that even if he ends up with his beloved Lisa that he may not be able to escape fate itself, as it seems his life may not be entirely his own.

Without delving too deeply into spoiler territory, it does make you wonder what the concept of this film was truly about. As a friend of mine suggested recently, it seems to be something reminiscent of a wolf howling for the moon. A lonely animal craving something it cannot have. Maybe, "Anomalisa" is a metaphor for this concept of a human being craving for something they can't have, or the concept of "free will" is nothing more than an illusion. Maybe we're all victims of fate, as we're blissfully unaware of it's whims.

Hell, it could be something as simple as the age old lesson, "the grass will always look greener on the other side" type shtick. Or maybe Charlie Kaufman was on crack, when he wrote the script, as this film can literally f**k with your mind if you think too deeply into it's concepts.

But overall, it's a rather interesting story to watch unfold. Granted, it's probably one of the strangest animated films that I've ever seen, but it's entertaining to watch. The story itself is thought provokingly deep with concepts that stick with you longer after you see the film, and the visuals compliment the complexities of the story quite nicely.

All I can say to readers is that if you're into artsy films that'll f**k with your mind, while hitting you with heavy doses of thought provoking symbolism about life itself, then "Anomalisa" is definitely worth checking out, as I can promise most of my readers that you probably never seen a movie like this before.

© 2016 Steven Escareno

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Your Brother 2 years ago

      I can see what you're saying with the reality we create for ourselves, but this story doesn't convey such in an interesting way at all to me. If Lisa's voice never changed to everyone else's the day after they had sex, maybe I could be on board, but since her voice assimilated to everyone else's in his mind, this said to me that this guy isn't lost, he's just a self absorbed jerk and it's extremely difficult to feel for this guy as a result. Instead I found myself feeling for anyone who crossed paths with this prick.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image
      Author

      Steven Escareno 2 years ago

      Hmm that's an interesting way to look at it, and I can definitely see you're point of view. However, I kind of viewed more from an abstract point of view as in the film might've been talking about the existentialism of humanity itself, and how sometimes we pine for things we simply can't have. And how no matter what we do in life, we're always going to be forced to live in the reality that we create for ourselves. But again, that's just me, but I can definitely see why some people wouldn't like this movie. However, I appreciate you sharing your views about the movie though, as I never looked at it like that before.

      I guess the great thing about "Anomalisa" is that it's one of those rare films that can be open to interpretation; similar to how "shutter island" was if you catch my drift.

    • profile image

      Your Brother 2 years ago

      Additionally, further proof Michael is a self absorbed dick is how the next day after he "conquers" Lisa, her voice immediately becomes like everyone else's he hears in his delusional, self-absorbed brain of his, not to mention his inability to even go through the motions to finish the lecture people paid him to speak at. Like his "lecture," the film is a lack thereof and was a waste of time to me. End of rant lol

    • profile image

      Your Brother 2 years ago

      You know I'm a huge Charlie Kaufman fan, but this was a huge disappointment to me from Kaufman (or anyone else for that matter). It was completely overrated to me; it's basically the story of a self-absorbed douchebag who's so wrapped up in himself he elects to do everything he can while in Cincinnati for work to cheat (again) on his loving, truly caring wife and barely gives a flying f*ck about his son (who seems to love and idolize his dad based on the scene they show his son in). I understand the symbolism that everyone's voice is the same because it shows how he hasn't felt a "human connection" until he finds Lisa, his latest conquest in adultery, but to me it's merely a device to further show how selfish and completely disconnected and delusional this guy is. Kaufman sees the world differently than we do, and it shows in his far superior work (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine...), but those films ideas and views of existentialism showed a sense of humanity and pulled the audience in, whereas this film had me pulling for it to be over ASAP.

      The only things that I found "revelatory" about this movie have nothing to do with the actual story or really the movie itself:

      1. The stop motion animation was unique;

      2. The fact that Charlie Kaufman was able to get this piece of garbage funded initially as a play, and then as a feature film!? His name on it is the only reason this happened;

      3. The fact that the dumbass Academy nominated this pile for an Oscar...wait, it's the Oscars nevermind.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)