Friday, January 29, 2016

Anomalisa - 1 nomination

Animated Feature Film - Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran

Anomalisa is a concept piece using stop motion animation from the out there mind of Charlie Kaufman.  The basic story is that a customer service expert, Michael Stone, comes to Cincinnati to speak and promote his book to a customer service convention.  Though he is an apparent expert on connecting with people, the irony of this character is that he himself seems to have a great deal of trouble seeing people as individuals and is no longer enthusiastic about the mundanities of life.  He hears every person in the world with the same voice (all voiced by a single actor, Tom Noonan). While showering, he actually hears a different voice, a woman's voice (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) and is immediately enthralled by finding something new, something different, in his world. Michael pursues this young woman, Lisa, and the anomaly of finding anything new in his belabored world sends him reeling.

There is an interesting clue at the beginning of the film when he checks in to the "Fregoli Hotel" - the Fregoli delusion is a mental health condition in which a person believes that many different people in the world are actually secretly the same person and that person is either changing his/her appearance or is wearing disguises.  There is some belief that this delusion may be related to a brain issue which affects normal perception of faces.

The thing about this film is that the concept sound really interesting.  There are just too many really bizarre scenes in which the viewer really doesn't know what is happening.  It's slow - some would say methodical - but I would say slow.  It rests too much on the cleverness of the premise and so goes in directions that we should merely accept because we're already on such a strange journey that these pieces are meant to fit in with the crazy landscape.

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