Rated: R

        Back in October, 2015, during the New Hampshire Film Festival, the film everyone was excited about was Anomalisa. It was supposed to be deeply moving, artistic and funny in a way that not many films can pull off. Given that, you can imagine my disappointment when I missed it. Unfortunately my husband was sick and needed to head back to the hotel room. Naturally I said, “Ok, I’ll see you after the movie then,” to which I received some protest. He wanted to see it as much as I did, and so would’ve been upset had I gone without him. Wanting to keep the peace, I skipped it, thinking that seeing it later on would be fairly easy. In that respect I was mistaken.
        That is why, on June 7, 2016, when the film was released on Blu Ray, I was so happy. I’d finally be able to see the film I’d been waiting 8 months to see. I’d finally be able to share in the experience (albeit a little late) that everyone else had had and enjoyed so immensely.
        The film was done entirely in stop animation, but don’t let that fool you; this film is NOT for children. The film follows Michael Stone, a middle aged man who hit it big with a book about customer service. Years later he travels the country giving inspirational talks to throngs of customer service employees. As time has gone on Michael has grown tired of his mundane life, and so he searches for a deeper human connection and something more from life.
Anomalisa is an interesting film for a few reasons. As I mentioned before, it is done entirely of stop animation. In order to make the film seem more realistic, directors Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman decided to include sex and nudity, making some parts seem like you’re watching a kid using dolls to portray “naughty” things, which to me made the film seem dirty and inappropriate, despite its R rating.
         Another interesting thing about the film is that there were only three actors hired to play all of the parts. David Thewlis played Michael, Jennifer Jason Lee played Lisa and Tom Noonan played “everyone else”. Because all characters, both male and female, other than Michael and Lisa, are played by Noonan, it makes things a little hard to decipher at first. For example, in the first scene Michael is on a plane flying to his next speaking engagement. We hear the pilot on the loudspeaker saying things about landing and such. A moment later we hear the same male voice reading a letter that Michael is looking at from a woman he once knew, and then we hear Michael’s thoughts in Michael’s voice. We find out later why the directors chose to cast the film that way, but the whole thing is a little odd and unnerving nonetheless.
        And then there’s the story itself. As I mentioned previously, the whole thing is supposed to be artistic and deep in ways that not many films are, but that’s not the impression I came away with. I found the whole thing to be far simpler than what I believe the writer, Charlie Kaufman, was going for. Kaufman wanted
Anomalisa to be a study in existentialistic midlife crises, and that is indeed the way that most people see it. Other critics have said things such as, “A jewel in stop-motion about the redemptive and devastating power of love,” (Carlota Mosegui) and “A wistful reflection on our constant aching for human connections and the fleeting nature of true happiness,” (Allan Hunter). I would sum it up in this way: Anomalisa is the story of a middle aged man who is tired of the monotony of his life, and so objectifies and uses women in an attempt to feel something other than boredom. There is nothing “deeply moving” here, there is only the resentment and disgust of a man for everyone but himself.
        Had I been told the truth about Anomalisa from the get go I would’ve given up on seeing it months ago. So I guess you can consider this your warning: if you find yourself with the opportunity to see it, don’t waste the time! It’s really not worth it.

Anomalisa is rated R, was written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman, was co-directed by Duke Johnson and stars David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Lee and Tom Noonan. It is available now on Blu Ray, DVD and streaming.