TIFF 2015 – Anomalisa

Going into Anomalisa, I had already seen (and greatly enjoyed) some of the strange things Charlie Kaufman creates. But even with that little bit of preparation, as I left the theatre after seeing Anomalisa, it occured to me that I may have just had the strangest experience of my movie life. And I mean that as the highest possible compliment. Duke Johnson’s animation work is unbelievable and fits perfectly with the story being told here to make a seamless whole. I have never seen animation look like this, or used to tell such a weird yet believable story. I don’t want to go into the plot at all because I think going in cold will be the best way to experience this movie. I am sure you can find details elsewhere if you want them, and i am sure the movie will be amazing either way. Just find a way to experience Anomalisa, but please don’t be like the people directly behind us at yesterday’s screening – leave your 11 year old son at home.

The writing here is remarkable. I am realizing that more and more as everyday things remind me of a part of the movie and make me laugh again at the movie’s jokes. They come quick and often here in what is not at all a happy story. The jokes feel integral to the movie without taking away from the very real and very sad journey that Anomalisa will take you on. That is a very difficult balance to strike and Anomalisa nails it.

The writing would make this a must-see on its own even if the animation was awful. But here is the remarkable thing about Anomalisa: its animation would make this a must-see even if the writing sucked. Anomalisa is absolutely breathtaking to watch.  I have never seen anything like this. The two directors deliver a mind-blowing visual experience. The characters and sets are unbelievably beautiful and have such a striking visual style. Anomalisa makes absolutely perfect use of animation – almost real but not quite, which for me only added to the movie’s charm and mystery.  The visuals tell us this is not necessarily our world, which keeps us wondering what is possible and what the rules are in the world we’re seeing.  Anomalisa’s art is amazing and expands what I thought was possible for animation. I have no idea how this masterpiece came to be. Anomalisa totally blew me away.

Of all the great movies we saw at TIFF over the last ten days, I think Anomalisa is going to be the one that sticks with me the longest.  It is unique. It is spectacular. It is brilliant. Anomalisa is a movie for the ages. Just not all ages – leave the kids at home.

Anomalisa gets a rating of 190% (because 90% just isn’t enough).

17 thoughts on “TIFF 2015 – Anomalisa

    1. Sean Post author

      It was a huge oversight on my part not to mention you by name! Because the animation in Anomalisa absolutely blew my mind and obviously you would have had a huge role in that! I’m going to fix that error.

      I wondered as I watched this movie: how big were the puppets/sets that you used? Because they are so detailed and lifelike, they felt like the must almost have been life-sized. And that feeling really added to the eerie realness of it all.


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  5. Holly Mayfair

    This movie was the worst movie I have EVER seen. The guy is married with a young son, tries to sleep with his ex he left eleven years ago while he is on a business trip, is unsuccessful so he goes after and ends up sleeping with a girl who is mentally slow and has a deformed face. He tells her he wants to marry her, then ends up leaving her too and goes back home to his wife and son. In addition, all but one woman in the show has voice done by a man, with no trying to sound feminine. That’s very creepy also. Then there is a sex scene where he goes down on the mentally slow girl with the deformed face and gives her oral sex while she groans and you can hear the sounds. The guy is a predator. He takes advantage of a girl with self esteem so low all she can say is, I am ugly. I am stupid…oh but HE is in love with that. PREDATORY. This is a horrible show and I don’t know what is wrong with you people. He is cheating on his wife too. Wtf.


    1. Sean Post author

      Lisa is not mentally challenged. She and Michael are consenting adults. Yes, Michael is cheating on his wife. He’s a severely flawed character but that’s one of the things that makes this movie so interesting. He’s searching for someone to save him but the truth is, no one else can.

      The same actor does the voices for all the characters except the two leads for a reason. All other characters not only sound the same, they are portrayed by the same puppet. Because Michael is experiencing this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fregoli_delusion. Not coincidentally, the hotel where the movie takes place is called the Fregoli.

      Anomalisa is the most original movie I’ve seen this year. It’s too bad you didn’t like it but I stand by my review – this is an amazing piece of art that absolutely blew me away.


    2. Matt

      I don’t think you need to agree with what the characters are doing to admire a movie. This was a beautifully made movie with a lot to say about relationships and loneliness. All the characters, yes including the women, apart from the two main characters were voiced by the same guy. I think that’s sort of the point.
      I have to admit. I’m curious where you got “mentally slow” from.


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