Anomalisa Review

Photo provided by the Athena Cinema


In Charlie Kaufman’s latest mind-bending work, Anomalisa, Michael Stone (David Thewlis) is an acclaimed self-help author who perceives every person in his life, including his wife and young son, as having the same exact face and speaking in the same exact voice (Tom Noonan).  Until one day when Stone meets an anomaly amongst the familiar faces at a Cincinnati hotel: a unique, self-conscious woman with a voice of her own (Jennifer Jason Leigh).  Stone’s story with his newfound acquaintance unfolds through stop-motion animation while bringing up the age-old question of what it is to be human.

Reasons to See Anomalisa 

The intricacy and artistic detail that went into this film is astounding, and anyone who is a fan of well-done animation will surely appreciate it.  What is especially remarkable is how human and real the film comes off, even though it is entirely animated.  The characters act with unique quirks and are so seamlessly animated that it is easy to become lost in the film and the beauty it evokes.

Not only does the film promise beauty in its images but also through its story.  Anomalisa hones in on the complexity of human life while emphasizing Stone’s feelings of isolation and disconnectedness with the world around him.  Kaufman and his crew take on such a creative approach to a tried and true concept that is both captivating and bewildering.

Also to be noted is the voice acting, which is superbly performed by Thewlis, Leigh, and Noonan, the only three voices to be heard throughout the entirety of the film, although there are many more than three characters featured.  Noonan takes on the challenge of voicing every character besides the main leads and does so to great comedic effect.  Whether its an old flame of Stone, a bellboy at the hotel, or an actress on the television Stone is watching, they all talk with the same timbre and inflection, only further highlighting how out of touch Stone is with his surroundings.

Reasons to Skip Anomalisa

Those unfamiliar with Kaufman’s earlier work may be thrown for a quite a loop while watching Anomalisa.  Kaufman’s films are anything but conventional, and Anomalisa, with its stop-motion puppets and unusual premise, is definitely no exception to this.  The realistic tendencies of the animation style might make some people uncomfortable, especially the more graphic scenes involving nudity.  Though an animated film Anomalisa might be, it is definitely not one for the whole family to go out and enjoy together.


It is safe to say that Anomalisa is a movie-going experience quite unlike any other.  Detailed imagery, a well-developed protagonist, and unique premise come together

Rating: 4.5/5

Anomalisa is playing at the Athena Cinema on Court Street with showings at 5:10 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9:35 p.m. daily.  There are is also a 3:05 p.m. matinee on Saturday and Sunday.