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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Anomalisa (2015)

Set in 2005, an Englishman (David Thewlis) now living in America arrives in Cincinnati to deliver a lecture on customer service at a convention. He's a rather dull and lonely man and unhappily married. But things change when he meets a young woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who stands apart from everyone else. Directed by Charlie Kaufman (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH) and Duke Johnson from Kaufman's screenplay. The film is animated with stop motion puppets and actor Tom Noonan doing the voices of all the film's characters except for Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It's disconcerting at first. The characters move like a Ray Harryhausen stop motion monster in one of his fantasy films. At first, one wonders why all the characters even the women are voiced by Noonan but eventually that becomes clear late in the film. It's based on a theatrical piece written by Kaufman and I can see that doing it this way was the only way to make his play cinematic. It's a unique and contemplative piece and quite original, I'll give it that. But it's distancing and I can't say I liked it much. Admire yes, but like no. But I did like how the puppets had bodies that looked like real people instead of the perfect gymrat bodies we usually get in movies. 

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