Charlie Kaufman’s brilliance lies in his careful depictions of inertia and mundanity; his previous directing outing, Synecdoche, New York, piled such boredom up to its existential breaking-point with fantastic results. In Anomalisa, life’s almost flatlining rhythms are represented with just as much potency, tiny gestures – amazingly rendered with excruciating realism in uncanny stop-motion – invested with an overflow of unquantifiable feeling.
A late-breaking dream sequence is perhaps a slice of Kaufman too far, threatening to derail this beautiful journey through its sheer lack of subtlety – thankfully though, a compelling, hugely affecting final sequence brings it all back with panache.
Thewlis and Leigh really sell a tender and realistic overnight romance as the former’s depressed self-help author struggles with bizarre audial hallucinations; Anomalisa is a subtle and shimmering emotional odyssey.
CAST: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
DIRECTORS: Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman
WRITER: Charlie Kaufman
SYNOPSIS: A self-help author (Thewlis) perceives everyone to have the same voice (Noonan) – until, during an overnight stay in Cincinnati, he meets Lisa (Leigh) and begins to open up.