A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.
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★★★★★ review by Matt Singer on Letterboxd
My love for this movie is zoo-sized.
★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd
"i think you're extraordinary, but i don't know why yet."
…it has something to do with a courageous reckoning with a man's egocentrism. "every one you talk to has had a day." loved the small scale, loved the discombobulating animation mode, loved the puppet cunnilingus. not an expansion of Kaufman's worldview (how can you expand on Synecdoche?), but a refinement... a guide for daily living.
★★★★★ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
First, a link to my most recent "analysis" of the film:
"Sometimes, there's no lesson.
That's a lesson in itself."
Enigmatic, extraordinarily minimalist & confined, yet broad in scope, existing in an alien, yet somehow- common location, a place both claustrophobic and infinite in its span.
Indeed, it is a film both colossally complex and at the same time minuscule... very, very minuscule; contained, restrained, the environment/edifice itself being the third primary character, the fish tank containing the pair of souls.
The screenplay is what perfects the sporadically shifting tone. The characters: idiosyncratic, flawed, likable and sometimes unlikable (but always in an enormously human way).
Above all else though, this was, for me, terrifying.
A dark comedy of the blackest sort, to the point
of provoking a greater multitude of emotions from me
than most films have ever been able to produce
(in its swift and concise 85 minute runtime).
Right up there with:
End of Evangelion,
It's Such a Beautiful Day,
and Angel's Egg.
★★★★★ review by Wesley R. Ball on Letterboxd
I am all alone in this world, and my biggest fear is staying that way. If you saw me in person you would understand. I'm not the best sight for the eyes, and I'm grossly overweight. I have no faith in getting another chance with any girl again. I have an alarmingly unhealthy attachment to my ex; even though I know for a fact she'll never want to get back with me and if we were to get back together there's a strong chance I would get left out in the cold again, I still have a relentless urge to want to go out with her again. I can't just see her as a friend like we used to. Not after what happened. Not after all the mental abuse. But i have a much worse problem. I can't talk to girls.
Oh, I can talk to girls like any other person. But I can't have emotional/relationship type discussions with girls, even if it's just a friendly outing. I verbally black out. Just when I think I have the right words, they're gone. Just after having ridiculously melodramatic daydreams about the endless possibilities of what could happen with girl X, my mind is unable to process the right words. I've never actually asked a girl out. The two girls I've been with asked me first. I don't even know if I'm in the "dating" age range anymore. How do I even approach this kind of situation now? Is the best option to look online, where you could find just about anyone you could think of? Should I go to more social events? No, I would just clam up again. That or awkwardly laugh and talk about things no one else knows about. How do I even start a conversation with a girl? You'd think it'd be just as easy as starting one with a guy, right? But what should I talk about? How do I break the ice? How do I pry open this thick shell that now engulfs my once lively personality to let her know I'm a genuine person? Why do I keep asking questions?
I honestly didn't think Anomalisa would hold up for me, watching it again. I thought my back to back watching of this the first time would burn me out too quickly. The story's too simple to really have any depth or meaning, right? No, it's actually superbly human to a point where each time I watch it I still end up in tears, questioning how I got in this position. When will I ever find my Anomalisa? Who will be my voice among the sea of Tom Noonans? I'm not gonna sugarcoat it here, I need some real help. Help I'm not going to get from the people around me. Help with moving on, accepting that the past can't become real again. Help in realizing that my "friends" from back then all only really wanted me for their own personal gains. Help with finding a way out of this confusing forest of deception. I just want to be happy again, like I used to be.
I'm completely lost in this world, and my biggest fear is staying that way.
★★★★★ review by Joe Zappulla on Letterboxd
If Synecdoche New York was Kaufman's massive personal theater experiment like Caden Cotard's, Anomalisa is his delicate microscopic painting like Adele's. It's the opposite of Synecdoche in the best possible way. While Synecdoche deals with the existential questions of life in universal and surreal ways, Anomalisa deals with the monotony of existence in surprisingly ordinary ways.
Its setting isn't a giant theater that recreates life but rather a boring hotel, with the usual plain beige walls and the usual non sensical cheap art piece that lines the ordinary walls. Kaufman goes back to one of the things he is amazing at, recreating the awkward monotony of conversation and miscommunication that seem to make up hotels. From the uncomfortable taxi ride over to his arrival back at home, self help guru Michael Stone deals with awkward communication whether it be about chili, or trying to figure out which button calls room service. The hotel is a world where conversation is like trying to get a keycard to unlock the door; it doesn't work for a few tries and then it finally opens. Kaufman handles this perfectly with some amazing humor that doesn't just work on its own, it also makes you bring back your own experience of awkward conversations.
This world is fully fleshed by its animation. It's so intimate in its location and execution. Every aspect of the set has been tweaked to perfection. Every movement has been painstakingly planned and organized to look real and authentic, but also not. The world is incredible because its contrasted of its dull realism and yet the surreal animated aspects, the best being that Michael lives in a world where everyone is voiced by Tom Noonan (who needs to get every award for pulling it off perfectly).
The worst thing about Anomalisa is that I won't be able to see it again until January, and I need to see it again so I can better illustrate how incredible this movie is. While Synecdoche New York is a personal favorite of mine, there is no doubt that Anomalisa is a more finely crafted and mature film, a companion film to Synecdoche in the best possible way. So check in to the Al Fregoli hotel for one of the most wonderful cinematic experiences of your life.
Anomalisa debuts at #1 on my 2015 Ranked List
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