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Anomalisa

Director:  Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman
Year Released:  2015
Rating:  2.0

An author (voiced by David Thewlis), on a trip to Cincinnati for a speaking engagement, stays in The Fregoli hotel (named after the "Fregoli Delusion," a very rare psychological malady) where he has many drinks, meets an old flame he left long ago (which ends poorly) and then has a chance encounter with two 'fans' of his work and sleeps with the one, the over-weight and shy Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who he believes can change his life ... until the next morning. Interesting from an aesthetic point-of-view: it was made with stop-motion animation (courtesy of Johnson) and every voice, except for Thewlis and Leigh, was done by Tom Noonan (to reflect the 'sameness' of most everyone Thewlis' robot meets) but it also feels like a rough first act with few ideas at its disposal. The Lisa character is supposed to change the author's life - who falls in love after a one-night stand? - before even 'her' voice reverts to Noonan's and she's quickly cast aside; Thewlis then has what can best be interpreted as a breakdown (during his conference), returns home after having an affair, gives his son a sex toy (that ejaculates?) and is unable to respond to his wife or guests at his house (they all appear the same to him). What to conclude? It's about a severely disturbed man who needs help ... but it ends before he gets help. Strange and off-putting (the sex scene did make me laugh - thanks Team America: World Police), it feels incomplete ... plus its view of women as objects for men to use in order to 'save' themselves might not sit well with a female audience.

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