Going into Anomalisa, I had already seen (and greatly enjoyed) some of the strange things Charile 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).