Anomalisa is a work of genius… it is a detailed, clever and beautiful film but one that I just didn’t get.


The film, written & co-directed by Charlie Kauffman, follows the same vein as much of his other works (Being John Malkovich (1999), Synedoche New York (2008)) in that it is a film about an outsider. What’s different about this film is that whilst being strange it is not as outright odd as the other films he’s written.

The films oddness doesn’t come from the situation but from the characters themselves and also the style of the film. It is very dry with spurts of dark humour and is definitely an exploratory animation. The animation style is strange with the lines separating the different parts of the puppets face (although being useful for plot purposes) distracting from the film. The entire film’s style gives the audience a queer and unsettling experience; particularly during the sexual acts… it’s attempts at realism in puppet form creating a haunting picture of society.


The story of the film is about mental breakdown and the mundanity of life, it follows Michael Stone (David Thewlis) who on a business trip meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), after falling in love with her he soon discovers reality to be a fraud leading to gripping and tense finale.

The problem I have with the film is that whilst I appreciate that it is cleverly written, well made and has a real point to make about society is that it is just too dry. For the first hour almost nothing happens, we just plod along the character exploring a world that to be honest isn’t that interesting. I presume that this is the point of the film as it puts the audience into the same state of boredom as Stone, but for me it was too much. As soon as the film starts to get good it ends, which is a real shame.


Anomalisa is a film which is fantastic but one which I cannot love.