Anomalisa is not an easy movie to watch. Well…it is easy to watch but it’s not easy to fully comprehend. That made it a particularly hard movie to sell to all but the most hardcore film festival-type audience.
The story follows Michael (voiced by David Thewlis), an expert in customer service training who’s flying to speak at an industry conference. He’s miserable and expressionless in his life and is just going through the motions. His worldview is exemplified for the audience by the fact that everyone around him has the same voice, making it seem as if everything is devoid of any discernible difference. It’s only brightened when he hears the voice of Lisa, something that’s actually different and offers a ray of hope, even if it is a fleeting one.
The fact that the story is told entirely with stop-motion figures only adds to the surreal nature of the world that’s built here. It’s impossible to talk too much about the story without giving away key elements of it that mean you won’t be as delighted and shocked by what transpires as you should be. It’s a remarkably simple story that’s elegantly told, with some big reveals and twists along the way. And the final conclusion of the relationship between Michael and Lisa is so odd it makes you question everything that’s come before.
The campaign definitely sold an odd, original story, which isn’t surprising given it comes from writer/director Charlie Kaufman. But it didn’t hint, thank goodness, at some of those revelations that make it even odder and more challenging than you’d expect by watching the trailer. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime right now and is highly recommended.