Anomalisa is absolutely the best adult animated movie of this decade. It’s genuinely funny, uplifting and tragic. This is life as we know it and not the usual polished Hollywood perfection.
Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s marvellous film follows just two days of Michael Stone’s (David Thewlis) life, but reveals a complex, heart-felt and mesmerising character. Stone has become disenchanted with life and the people around him (Tom Noonan), but a fleeting happiness overcomes him when he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and begins a romance that is as beautiful as it is awkward.
Anomalisa’s dialogue is wonderfully natural. There aren’t any brilliant, witty comebacks or seamless conversations. The characters feel like they’re trying to think of the right thing to say in real-time or blurting things out because they’re not thinking at all. Despite being puppets, these are real people on screen.
Between the refreshingly realistic dialogue and the stunning stop-motion animation (courtesy of the ground-breaking Starburns Industries), it’s easy to forget that Anomalisa isn’t live action. Charlie Kaufman’s words have the power to turn even puppets into humans.
Famed English actor David Thewlis has a distinctive voice but, a testament to the script and also Thewlis’ ability to get under the skin of a character, that voice now belongs to Michael Stone. Jennifer Jason Leigh is utterly loveable as Lisa, and Tom Noonan, as everyone else, is both haunting and brilliant.
Anomalisa is perfect in every way. Despite the strong competition this year from Pixar and Studio Ghibli, it would be a travesty if this stop-motion masterpiece didn’t win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. It would be an even bigger travesty for Anomalisa, like so many past Oscar nominees, to be forgotten.
Anomalisa does not have a UK release date yet.