Every time Charlie Kaufman (2008's "Synecdoche, New York") writes and/or directs a new picture, it is cause for celebration. "Anomalisa" may be his most technically auspicious yet, an aching, dreamy, R-rated stop-motion animated drama defying easy description. Co-directed by Duke Johnson, the film imagines a world nearly identical to our own, but populated by marionettes free of strings. The animation, reportedly given further dimensionality via 3D printers, perplexes in how it was achieved while verging on photorealistic. If "Anomalisa" is a remarkable visual anomaly, the sensitive, character-driven story—think 1991's "Dogfight" meets 2003's "Lost in Translation" meets 2009's "Love Happens"—goes a long way in providing it a restless, authentic soul.
Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) arrives in Cincinnati on business. He takes a taxi from the airport, checks into the upscale Fregoli Hotel, is accompanied to his room by a wet-behind-his-ears bellboy, and promptly orders room service. At every turn, he is confronted by the endless prattling and awkward small talk inherent in customer service. Michael is respectful but obviously annoyed, which makes the discovery that he is actually the author of a self-help book on customer service, "How May I Help You Help Them?" all the more surprising. He will be giving a speech on the subject in the morning, but for tonight he is yearning for companionship outside of his life back home (he is unhappily married and has a young son). When attempts to reconnect with old flame Bella fizzle out, he finds himself having drinks in the hotel bar with a pair of women in town to hear him talk. The introverted, less confident of the two, Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), doesn't quite believe it when Michael invites her back to his room. This could be the start of a happier future for both of them, or the catalyst for heartbreak.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review