‘Anomalisa’ first came to my attention online somewhere, I can’t remember exactly where or when though. It’s Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature only further grabbed my attention and from then on I was determined to see it. With quite a limited release it was hard for me to get to see it but I finally found a time that suited me and I got to see this animation which I really knew very little about.
Coming from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, ‘Anomalisa’ probably has a certain style to it. I can’t quite comment on this as the only previous work of Kaufman’s that I’ve seen is ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and I hold the unpopular opinion of not really liking it. His other work seems to have earned him a good level of praise, however from the two films I have seen which he has written for I think his style of storytelling maybe just isn’t for me. The screenplay is intriguing but only up to a point really. There are certain elements to the film which are odd but don’t make themselves too obvious, I enjoyed this aspect of the narrative and thought they offered some nice discussion to accompany the film. I enjoyed this aspect to the film afterwards too as I descended onto the message boards of IMDb to see what others made of these elements. However, once you make your mind up about them in your viewing after that the film does become a little boring. This boredom makes the film feel quite slow in places and this is never a good thing when a films run time is only around ninety minutes. The film has a slight weirdness to it which definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I was able to put up with it in parts but when things did slow down so did my patience.
There are a few moments of humour sprinkled throughout the film and I’ve no doubt that fans of Kaufman’s style will find the film very consistently funny. I found that the times I laughed the most were at the everyday situations that the main character found himself in rather than in the dialogue. The main character, Michael Stone, is played by David Thewlis who we last saw reigning over Scotland as King Duncan in ‘Macbeth’. Thewlis was perfect for this character and his voice worked very well alongside the animation to create a very believable figure despite his animated appearance. Jenifer Jason Leigh who is fresh from her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in ‘The Hateful Eight’ also provides her voice talents here, she is good too and like Thewlis brings her character to life in a convincing manner. Tom Noonan also stars and he may end up being the voice you remember the most for one reason or the other. The animation itself is good too, it’s unlike the cute and polished efforts we saw from Disney’s ‘Inside Out’ but is closer to other animations which use the stop-motion technique. This technique will always impress me and ‘Anomalisa’ is no different. Whilst the performances and animation were both good I found this didn’t make up for the lack of engagement I had for a large portion of the film.
Depending on how you interpret the story the film does have an interesting social commentary but as soon as you catch on to what the film is saying it becomes less and less interesting. I think this may just come down to the style of the writing though as many of the other elements are fine. The animation and performances can’t be criticised and there is humour here. I just was left wanting a little more from the movie. It’s far from being a disaster but I find it hard to identify with those labeling it as a “a future classic”. Possibly just not for me but I do think that ‘Anomalisa’ is only really engaging up to a point and after this you’ll have to fight to stay engaged.
Rating – 6/10
Question: What is your favourite ever voice performance from a film?
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