Anomalisa (Preview)

This Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature bears the idiosyncratic stamp of its co-creator Charlie Kaufman (Oscar-winning screenwriter of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) who, along with animator Duke Johnson (Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole), lives to explore the vast and esoteric reaches of the human condition. Who else would use stop-motion animation to capture the dramatic comedy of errors that is the life of Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis), an expert in customer service who is unable to maintain a deep and meaningful interaction with others? Stone drifts through his dreary everyday existence until, during a conference in Cincinnati, he encounters Lisa Hesselman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and begins to believe that this chance meeting could change his fate. Kaufman and Johnson apparently went to extraordinary lengths to render their world and characters with as much expressive veracity as possible. Anomalisa dares to define its own reality and itself – Michael coins the term as a label for Lisa (she is an “anomaly” named Lisa, get it?) — and challenges us to do the same. How very Kaufman-esque? (Opens Jan. 22 at Esquire Theatre) (R) Not screened in time for review

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