“ Look for what is special about each individual, focus on that”
As you go through life, day after day, everything can eventually seem mundane. The people you know and the new ones you meet become one as everything starts to blend together. That’s why we continue to look for that one special person that we’re destined to meet, the one anomaly in life. Some will search forever while others will simply settle for what they have. Even when we settle though we still never give up in our search, and when we find that thing that is different we get confused on what it really means. I know you’re here to read a movie review, not listen to me rattle on about life decisions, however this the the head space Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s latest film “Anomalisa” put me in, so let’s talk about the movie.
Michael Stone (David Thewlis) is on his way to speak at a conference in Cincinnati. Michael is successful but is feeling lost in life and is just sleep walking his way through it all. Once in his hotel room Michael decides to call call and ex-girlfriend whom he hasn’t spoken to her for over 10 years. Things did not end well with his ex, but Michael is looking for that something special, and he thinks he might have had it with her. When things don’t go well with that he decides to retire to his room. While in his room he hears something, that something is the voice of Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and it seems like just the thing Michael has been missing all his life. They have drinks along with Lisa’s friend, and retire to Michael’s room, as Michael thinks he has found that anomaly he has been looking for.
There are two things you need to know about this film, one it is written by Charlie Kaufman and second it’s animated. The animation can throw you for a loop as the subject matter is pure adult. Kaufman’s writing is unique, and has it’s fans as well as it detractors. “Anomalisa” is no different than his other films in that regard, but what Kaufman seems to do so well, is tell a human story. While the story is something to admire, the real admiration is for the work director Duke Johnson and everyone else with the presentation of the film. I am a Kaufman fan, with “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” being one of my favorite films of the last twenty years. “Anomalisa” is not on that level, but is still a very good film and one of the better mid life crisis movies that seems to get it right. It’s not always about buying the sports car when we hit that point, it’s about discovering the things that make us happy. Don’t go see this film for answers, instead see it because of the different prism it allows you to view the world as well as life, and because all films written by Kaufman are anomalies.