Like Motivational Growth, I think Anomalisa is something you witness rather than experience. The film won’t have you shedding tears at any point however the themes and ideas will stick with you for days. I wasn’t sure if I liked Anomalisa when I first saw it but that was nearly a week ago and after some reflection, I think it’s quite magical.
This stop-motion drama directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson tells the story of Michael Stone, an inspirational speaker who lives in a dull reality where everyone has the same face. While staying at a hotel he meets Lisa, a quirky young woman with a unique appearance and voice. Michael immediately falls in love with her but as he spends time with Lisa he begins to make some unflattering discoveries.
Michael isn’t a likeable character. He’s cynical and a bit antisocial. The first half of the film is all about establishing the world. Through that we begin to understand Michael and the state he’s in. The world bores him. He feels guilty about ending a good relationship for reasons he’s unsure of. We feel empathy for him rather than sympathy, this makes his scenes with Lisa very engaging.
When Lisa enters the story we get an engaging but slightly concerning insight of Michael’s true character. She turns Michael’s world upside down, he’s absolutely mesmerized by her. At this point we see a different side of Michael. He’s polite to Lisa most of the time but occasionally comes across as controlling and even creepy. He eventually forms a decent relationship with Lisa.
The rest of the film expands on Michael’s issues and leads to a haunting conclusion. I won’t spoil it but I will say that it suggests that Michael may somehow be responsible for the mundane world he sees every day.
I think Anomalisa is uniquely mesmerizing; it has an empathetic protagonist who we’re constantly fascinated with and a fantastic surreal world. I highly recommend it for everyone.
I give Anomalisa an incredible 10 out of 10.