Strange, eerie Lilliputian-like puppets depict a lugubrious, despondent “slice of life”, pervasive and experienced in the real world, simply “Michael Stone” (voice of David Thewlis) a self-help maven, is suffering from a catastrophic mid-life crisis. His perilous condition leads him to seek out an old flame, cultivate a new one, “Anoma”Lisa” (voice of Jennifer Jason Leigh); she is an anomaly, a square soul in a round sphere, scarred physically and psychologically; their pairing is jointly poignant and hilarious.
Written and co-directed by imaginative, avant garde Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) “Anomalisa” is veined with despondency, darkness and paranoia; Kaufman references a little known affliction, “Fregoli Delusions” where a myriad of people appear as a single individual; very effective, disorienting tool with countless cloned puppets.
Particularly disturbing, disquieting is that, with the exception of the two main protagonists, Tom Noonan is the voice of every man, woman and child; one’s cognitive balance is perpetually tweaked.
This was an uncomfortable, implausible, visceral experience, haunting with its ingenuity, inventiveness; taunting the viewer to find remnants of the human condition and empathize.