Anomalisa: Film Review

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I have no idea why it has taken so long for Anomalisa to get a release over here but at least now we finally get to see this Oscar-nominated animated movie. What I love about Anomalisa is that it doesn’t use animation to entertain kids or to be subversive and shocking (like South Park) but it tells a very dramatic, adult story that you would not expect from an animation.

David Thewlis is the voice of self-help author Michael Stone, who checks into the Fregoli hotel in Cincinatti ahead of a conference. Everyone he meets looks the same and talks with the same male voice (Tom Noonan) until he hears Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and romance ensues.

I have never seen an animation tell such a simple mature story before – not much happens, we are just following Michael and finding out his disorder and how meeting Lisa renews his look on life. Michael suffers from the Fregoli delusion, where a person is convinced everyone around them is actually the same person and his paranoia increases throughout the movie.

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This does not sound like the perfect subject matter for an animation and I do think it would have worked just as well as a live action, but you do forget that you are watching stop-motion puppets/dolls. You just become involved in Michael’s story. It is riveting. This also had the most honest depiction of sex I have seen in any film in a long time – it’s weird to call an animation realistic but it truly is. It made me chuckle often because it was so relatable and observational.

There are some parts that are genuinely laugh out loud funny and others which are very sad and touching. The plot sounds incredibly boring but it is really not. The actors inject so much emotion into their characters and it is so odd and surreal seeing everyone look the same. I must admit I had not researched the movie so I did not know this plot device and I was confused – I was like ‘why does this woman have a man’s voice?’ I didn’t even realise everyone had the same face until he met Lisa! But it is cool concept with a great payoff at the end.

I’ll admit this won’t be everybody’s bag but it is such a cool movie and I think it has a lot to say about society even though it is a story on the micro scale. It resonated with me and left me thinking about it afterwards. It’s definitely worth checking out.

In cinemas Friday 11th March 

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