Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Charlie Kaufman is Cinema’s snow leopard. Like the endangered animal, his beauty is rarely seen. He’s written for Spike Jones (i.e. Being John Malkovich) and Michel Gondry (i.e. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). He made his directorial debut in 2008 with Synecdoche, New York. All of his work has been artistic in its ability to provoke people, and poetic in its expressions of love. His latest Film, Anomalisa, shares these beloved characteristics… and more.
Anomalisa is also visually-splendid. It’s animated via stop motion, which aids in its discussion of the Fregoli delusion. As the Film follows its protagonist, author Michael Stone, we notice how everyone around him looks and sounds the same. Only his face and voice differ from those of the men and women in his Cincinnati hotel. That is until he meets Lisa, a small town girl who’s come to see him speak. Jennifer Jason Leigh voices Lisa, and sings for her too. It’s strange, but simple enough to follow. The story of a man falling in love with the woman he’s been so desperate to discover.
However, the Film is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s allusions to mental illness are elusive. It is personal in its presentations of private moments. Evidence of the suggestion that this an incredibly human Film. It is. It reminds us we are all acting, attempting to mitigate our failures and discover our dreams. It’s a unique and beautiful Film that worked outside of the studio system… just as Kaufman promised it would be years ago on Kickstarter. And for all of you interested in seeing something able to stimulate the mind and stir the soul… it’s in theatres now.
Paramount Pictures Canada release ANOMALISA in Toronto Friday, January 8, 2016. It releases in Vancouver and Montreal Friday, January 15, 2016 and Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary on Friday, January 22, 2016.