anomalisa-mag-02-1 The movie: The strange and wonderful “Anomalisa,” an Oscar nominee for best animated film, which comes from the fertile mind of Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Being John Malkovich”).

The theater: Edwards. What a surprise when I saw that “Anomalisa” is playing in a double feature with the Tina Fey war correspondent flick “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (a strange combination), having slipped into town with no fanfare. It plays just once a day, at 1:35 p.m.

The audience: completely packed, every seat sold out. No, of course not. Who even knew this movie was in Fresno? There were about 10 people in the audience on Sunday.

The film: A despondent self-help author named Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis), who seems numb to the world, travels to Cincinnati to be a keynote speaker at a “customer service” convention. There he meets a woman named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who just might change his mundane and stifling life.

The technique: Kaufman and co-director Duke Johnson spent two years shooting the stop-action film with puppets made with 3D printers. The human figures are eerily life-like but have hinged faces, as if you could lift up their features and peer under the hood.

The impact: I was mesmerized. The film is haunting and transcendent, a startling (and even a little scary) existential examination of one man’s loneliness in a monolithic world. In the end, you might think you have the main character figured out. But what if he’s the only sane one and it’s the rest of us who are deluded?

The verdict: If you can carve out the time, see the movie on the big screen before it closes. (We haven’t received the final bookings for Friday’s openings, but I’m guessing that “Anomalisa’s” last day will be Thursday.) If you can’t make it by then, the film will be released on Blu-Ray June 7.

 

Donald Munro

Donald Munro

Donald Munro is The Bee's arts and culture critic. He currently has the opening song to "Galavant" stuck in his head and doesn't know if he can ever get it out.
Donald Munro
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