ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Someone Out Of The Ordinary: Anomalisa

Updated on March 5, 2016
Source

The animated feature Anomalisa tells the tale of the man experiencing a personal crisis. David Thewlis gives voice to Michael Stone, a British-born writer and speaker now living in Los Angeles. He has flown to Cincinnati on business to deliver a speech based on his self-help book. Michael, though, arrives in the city a bit restlessly. He can't have a smoke in the cab ride from the airport because his driver suffers from asthma. He orders a late supper, but goes out later to catch up to an old girlfriend named Bella, even though Michael has married and become a parent. That ends up disastrously when Michael says something insensitive, and Bella abruptly leaves. He later does some shopping, returns to his room, and prepares for bed.

However, he hears a pair of voices pass by his room, and he has to investigate. Not seeing anyone in the hall, Michael knocks on doors until he finds Lisa Hesselman (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the one with a distinctive voice to Michael who has traveled from upstate with a good friend named Emily. After having drinks with them, he asks a surprised Lisa back to his room. In her travels with Emily, Lisa has never received such an invite. He assures the self-conscious Lisa of her attraction before they spend an intimate night together. That intimacy changes the way Michael sees Lisa, both in dreams and in reality the next day. His restlessness continues even on his return home as his wife throws a surprise birthday party for him.

Anomalisa will alienate some viewers with its often unappealing lead character, but it is an interesting approach to a troubled person from writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman, who has looked at the world in unusual ways with scripts such as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. The story makes me recall the film Bulworth, where Warren Beatty played a veteran politician who has grown tired of making the same old speeches, as the words have become meaningless. The hotel where Michael stays also has a significance, as the name refers to a certain condition that might be afflicting him. The stop-motion animation comes from co-director Duke Johnson, and the approach works, since the voice cast is quite limited. The animation also enhances the notion that Michael feels quite disjointed, and a bit less than attarctive. It's not clear whether Michael has even learned anything from this business trip, or even cares about the good his life has brought his way.

The cast certainly does a good job in their roles. Thewlis is not all stone as Michael Stone, although his behavior indicates he's not too concerned about anyone besides himself. For example, he visits a toy store someone has suggested as a place where he could get a gift for his young and materialistic son Henry. Michael quickly realizes the place does not sell children's toys, yet buys the boy something from there. His best moments come as he reassures Lisa that she shouldn't be so self-conscious with others. He does, however, take that reassurance beyond where he needed to take it. Leigh gives the movie its brightest spots as Lisa, who cites Michael's book as the reason her work in marketing by telephone improved. In her moments with Michael, she sings him a song that shows the happy spirit she has inside her, but shares sparingly. All of the other voices come courtesy of Tom Noonan, who perfectly delivers a sameness of tone to all of the non-lead parts besides Lisa.

Anomalisa is not a total winner in my book, but some might identify with the lead character trying to get through a sameness of routine that has permeated his existence. Michael Stone may have done well in certain respects, but he has lost a part of the person who enjoys any measure of his success. He finds temporary solace with Lisa, but other demands weigh heavily upon him. Perhaps Michael should follow Lisa's lead and treat himself and his loved ones to something they don't do regularly. Viewers will be left to wonder if any good experience will register with him, and leave a lasting impact on him.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Anomalisa three stars. Welcome to the Fregoli Hotel?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Mills 

      2 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      Thanks Mel. I'm sure it will come to cable soon, perhaps even an On Demand selection before then. I hope you will find the movie as interesting as I did if you see it.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 years ago from San Diego California

      Appears to be an interesting film. I make mental notes of these movies and hopefully will stumble across them on television sometime. Great review.

    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)