Anomalisa | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 90 minutes · 2016

Animation, Drama
Originally a pseudonymous play by eccentric screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), this uncanny and moving stop-motion animation tells a story of loneliness, selfishness, and fragile connection. A customer-service guru (given voice by David Thewlis) arrives in Cincinnati to lecture at a business conference and tries to reconnect with an old flame, then settles for drinks and possibly more with a pair of single women in his hotel who are gaga to meet him. Kaufman's comedy of personal discomfort is much in evidence, though in this case the awkward moments are acted out by puppets created with a 3-D printer; the movie plays like a Rankin-Bass TV special penned by Tom Stoppard. Kaufman made his directing debut with the ambitious and unwieldy Synecdoche, New York (2008), which involved the construction of a miniature city; by contrast this second theatrical feature is tightly focused, its only windows those that open onto the mind. Duke Johnson codirected; with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan.

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