Director: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman
Writer: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: David Thewlis (Michael Stone), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Lisa Hesselman), Tom Noonan (Everyone else)
In Anomalisa, Michael Stone is a customer service expert and author in Cincinnati to promote his latest book. Unhappy in marriage and life, he begins to see everyone around him as having the same face and voice, regardless of age or gender. His first few hours in the city are disappointing, punctuated by an unsuccessful attempt to reunite with an old flame. He finds hope, however, when he hears a different voice, that belonging to Lisa Hesselman. It may just be a fling, but for a moment, she becomes to most important person in the world to him.
The animation in this was stunning, but the story itself was not my favorite. While I like the concept, I was never fully able to sympathize with the characters. It just felt that Michael was only taking advantage of Lisa, but Lisa was too simple and insecure for me to feel that bad for her.
However, I think it is an excellent film. Characters aren't always supposed to be likable or admirable, and the writers did a good job of developing Michael's temporary psychosis. I always appreciate animated films targeted to an older audience. It gives film-makers greater agility in their storytelling, and, in this film's case, allows for otherworldly touches that aren't immediately notable. The story and characters may have fallen a bit short for me, but as a whole, the movie is extremely well-done.