Director: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Stars: Tom Noonan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Thewlis
It takes a real gift to take the numbingly mundane and make it feel extraordinary. Actually, it just takes Charlie Kaufman. Anomalisa is a stop-motion animated picture that subtly brings to life the very familiar in a way that feels so incredibly intimate. We gaze with recognition as Michael Stone, a productivity expert with a bestseller to his name endures a taxi ride with a chatty driver, checks into a hotel and tucks away into his room before the next day's speaking engagement—the stench of loneliness in the air. Everything looks and feels the same, and everyone, literally, sounds like Tom Noonan. That is, everyone except Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a shy, self-deprecating but vivacious woman whom he meets at the hotel.
He is jolted alive by her presence, an anomaly, that captivates him. Stone lives in a modern world that's largely indifferent, impersonal, and soulless. More than anything it is that thirst for a raw human connection—no matter how fleeting—that consumes him and draws him to Lisa. Anomalisa is a beautifully rendered, heartbreaking, funny, and piercingly poignant observation of life and its melancholy nature. It's got a truly special humanity that breaks through all the clutter.