ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Anomalisa

Updated on February 21, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 2015, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson released Anomalisa, based on Kaufman’s 2005 play of the same name. Starring David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan, the film grossed $2.9 million at the box office. The first animated film to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival, it won the Austin Fantastic Fest Award for Best Director and was one of the Fantastic Features, the Mill Valley Film Festival Audience Award and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Depiction of Nudity, Sexuality or Seduction. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film as well as the Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature, Best Directing in a Feature Production, Best Music in a Feature Production, Best Voice Acting in a Feature Production, and Best Editing in a Feature Production.

Synopsis

Michael Stone is a best-selling self-help author who is in Cincinnati for a customer service conference. However, he’s very lonely and sees everyone around him as the same generic person. But things change when he suddenly hears a unique female voice, one that belongs to a woman named Lisa.

Review

Interestingly made, Anomalisa is a great film that’s very well-presented. Michael is the main focus of the film and the film does very well in portraying him as a very lonely man that can’t seem to connect to anyone other than Lisa. He can’t seem to hold a conversation with anyone and when he tries to meet an old flame, he just winds up insulting her which causes her to become even angrier than she already is. It seems that his reason for being unable to connect is why Noonan is the only other voice besides Thewlis and Leigh: he is suffering from the Fregoli Delusion, a syndrome where a person believes that multiple people are the same person in disguise. It seems to be that he’s found that everyone he meets to be that person and it’s taking a toll on him. In that regard, it’s no wonder that the man reacted to Lisa’s unique voice with wonder, surprise and joy.

Notably, Lisa herself is a great character which adds to how unique she is in Michael’s life. She’s always second guessing herself and believes that she isn’t as wanted as her friend. It seems that her time with Michael changes just as it changed him. She changed him by making it so that he was able to enjoy life, albeit for a few moments before he went back to his unfortunate life. At the same time, he ended up changing her by helping her to be more sure of herself. It’s interesting that the film actually ends by focusing on her, showing that she’s become a more hopeful and confident person, going by her letter where she writes that she hopes the two of them will meet again.

A very well-conveyed aspect to this film is its sex scene, which actually is one of the more realistic and honest portrayals of sex in film. Rather than the two of them just launching into lovemaking, the two of them ease into it with Michael working to make Lisa more comfortable. When it goes further, he apologizes for thinking he hurt her and the two of them work to make it a more enjoyable experience. There’s also how it doesn’t look as simulated as other sex scenes do, with the two of them seen as genuinely experiencing the moment’s intimacy. Honestly, had it not been Michael cheating on his wife with Lisa, the moment would have been much more charming, even though Lisa was the only person he saw as unique.

The animation is also noteworthy, as the stop-motion is used very effectively in showing just how distant Michael is with the rest of the world. It’s realistic-looking enough to make the characters look human, but also just cartoony enough to make it unsettling, which is often described as being a part of the Uncanny Valley. There’s also how the joints separating the upper and lower halves of the faces were kept on the character models. It works well for Michael’s delusion, though. It makes it look like the characters are wearing masks which further his thinking that everyone is the same person, strengthened by how Lisa’s friend looks like herself in the final scene.

5 stars for Anomalisa

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    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)