Movie Reviews

Anomalisa Review: Beautiful but Whiny Character Study

Movie Review: Anomalisa

Anomalisa is an artistically ambitious and beautiful film undercut by a sexist trope and a tired character study of the whiny privileged male.

Michael Stone is a well-known author of books about customer service but he’s having trouble connecting with people around him. As a matter of fact, everyone else has the same flat voice including his wife and kid. Everything else looks boring too, even the expensive hotel with all its uniform halls. Luckily for Stone, he meets someone who finally changes his dull world, but eventually, his reality unravels and reveals the root of his malaise.

Anomalisa is able to capture the nuances of real-life moments by relying on small naturalistic expressions, such as a slight furrow on the eyebrows and a half-smile on the lips. The stop motion puppetry showed the awkwardness and shyness when two strangers have sex with such accuracy that it’s borderline sorcery.

The movie uses subtext throughout the film, with clues along the way to tip you off about what this movie is really about.

While it touches on loneliness, isolation, individuality, and conformity, the movie doesn’t develop any of it.

Anomalisa is as pretentious and whiny as Garden State.

Instead of a manic pixie dream girl to cure his existential crisis, he meets Lisa, a self-deprecating gullible kinda dumb girl in an adult woman’s body. She is a fan of his book. His ego gets a boost. They sleep together.

Michael doesn’t overcome his despair as the movie continues with its bleak outlook. His infatuation fizzles as soon as he finds a small flaw with Lisa. The movie tells us that the women around him aren’t worthy enough to live with for long and everybody else is dull. And so, his dull world remains unchanged.

Anomalisa follows the Kaufman formula – a mopey middle-aged man who thinks he’s a genius and cheats to nourish his ego.

Overall, Anomalisa is still an engaging and intriguing movie for those who are searching for something different. But for such an artistic, beautiful, and ambitious movie that is able to transcend its medium, it’s a shame that the lesson it wants to teach you is wrung from tired stale tropes.

Anomalisa

7

Anomalisa is an artistically ambitious and beautiful film undercut by a sexist trope and a tired character study of the whiny privileged male. 

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