Thursday, February 4, 2016

FILM REVIEW: Anomalisa

If you want to see teeny puppets having sex, here's your chance.
Watching Anomalisa, a sad, slow, strange movie starring puppets playing people, and not very likable people at that, one can only conclude that director Charlie Kaufman must be off his meds again. Don't get me wrong; the man is a genius. I am a huge fan of his other films (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and may be the only person alive who loved Synecdoche, New York enough to see it twice. But his latest offering is bleak, and except for an excruciatingly explicit puppet sex scene that gets you wondering about the technology of how it was done, has little reward.

The tale begins with a successful author and motivational speaker flying to Cincinnati to give a speech. Despite a wife and son back home, his life is desperate and empty. Once there, he has an affair with one of the conference attendees. All is blah for him until he meets her, a special woman who seems different from everyone else. This may be because she is different, being the only one with a female voice; all the other characters, regardless of gender, sound like the same man. (That's because they are all voiced by the same actor.) They also all have the same perfect puppet faces, but hers is different: she has a flaw, which our hero sees as beautiful.

Sadly, just like in real life, great sex, or even great love, turns out not to be the solution to anything. What our hero really needs is a month at a Buddhist retreat or perhaps a gym membership. He is clearly in need of a reason to live and/or some serotonin.  Skip this one unless your middle name is Sundance  and you love esoteric movies that have little to do with entertainment and a lot to do with brooding intellectualism.

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