The new feature length animated film for adults called ANOMALISA has been Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature.
It’s a quietly moving, very creative film about a lonely, depressed middle aged man who unexpectedly connects with an unsophisticated young woman during an overnight stay in Cincinnati.
Part of what makes the film unique is that the characters are animated stop-motion puppets who feel an awful lot like real people.
It begins as an airplane is landing.
Man on plane: Sorry I grabbed your hand.
Michael: It’s OK.
Man: It’s a reflex. I don’t like to fly.
Michael: I said it’s OK…You can let go now, though.
Michael Stone is the author of a self-help book for customer service representatives. He’s going to Cincinnati to make a speech while his wife and son remain in Los Angeles. Actor David Thewlis provides his voice.
Michael: What is it to be human? What is it to ache? What is it to be alive? …..Our time is limited. We forget that.
Michael is seriously depressed. To him, everyone in the world looks and sounds the same which makes him feel completely alone.
A decade earlier he abandoned a girl friend in this city and now he decides to see if she’ll have a drink with him.
It doesn’t go well.
Michael: I mean do you feel that you’ve changed?
Old girlfriend: What are you talking about?
Michael: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Later, he meets a shy, self-deprecating woman who has come with a friend to hear the speech he’ll make the next day. Her name is Lisa and she doesn’t look or sound the same as everyone else. She’s voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Lisa: Most people don’t really like to look at me too much, because you know.
Michael: I think you’re lovely… I think you’re extraordinary.
Michael: I don’t know yet. It’s just obvious to me that you are.
The two puppet people talk at length and there’s even a scene of them in bed together which is both awkward and genuinely touching.
It’s hard to believe that a film made with one foot tall puppets moved one frame at a time could generate such quiet, almost haunting human emotions. But it does.
ANOMALISA is unique little mind game from writer-director Charlie Kaufman. It just might touch your heart.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org