Tim here. The biggest strength of Anomalisa is that it's the most prominent, prestigious animated feature made in the U.S. for an exclusively adult audience in ages and ages. Since Fritz the Cat, probably; maybe even of all time. The film is the brainchild of Charlie Kaufman, who initially wrote it as an audio-driven stageplay performed by the same cast as the movie; he turned it into a stop-motion feature with the help of co-director Duke Johnson, a veteran of the dark Adult Swim satire Moral Orel. Oddly, it's perhaps the least outré film of Kaufman's career, despite being animated. Or maybe it's exactly the dirty trick of the movie that Kaufman's most ruthlessly realistic story ever would also be the one that is the least objectively "real" of all of them.
That story centers on Michael Stone (David Thewlis), a melancholy author traveling to Cincinnati to give the keynote speech at a conference for customer service representatives. Michael is not a happy man, a fact omnipresent in every facet of the film, from Thewlis's perfectly drained line deliveries, those of a man who could do with a good cry and is too tired even for that, to the painfully bland color palette of the film. [More...]