Why do we pray? Why do we bow? More or less it’s because we believe or at least anticipate that there is someone out there that’s listening. Someone is seeing every crack, fracture and imperfection you have, and is trying to heal. It’s scary to give into that belief, that thought of someone. What if that guy doesn’t has the best intention? What if he truly wants to hurt us? What if he sees all those imperfections, leave us hoping? It’s magical how those expectations of worshiping finds roots in ‘love’, and they also find roots in a true ‘masterpiece’. It sees you, all the while you think you’re watching it and leaves you judged. Kaufman’s Anomalisa is the masterpiece in point.
The movie begins with the protagonist Michael unwilling to read a letter and the frustration of that is forbidding him to make any kind of human contact, small talks annoys him, scenery makes him brood. The audience is told the letter is definitely from a woman. We are left thinking who is this woman even though we don’t even know who Michael is! As the movie proceeds and Michael finally contacts the woman- Bella, he calls her and she agrees to meet him at the hotel he’s staying at Cincinnati for a day/night. Their first interaction tells us that they had something special between them and that Michael leaves him for some unknown reason for which both Michael and Bella have never forgiven him.
Soon we are taken to this dream-esque world we are often left with in Kaufman’s films. There’s chaos and then there’s discovery of who this woman truly is. She is the one whom Michael can say, “They(meaning the whole world) are all one person. You &I are the only other person.” Whose voice he can’t get enough of. We finally get to know that the woman’s real name is ‘Lisa’ and she is the kind of woman who finds someone falling in love with her shocking not surprising, shocking! Yet, they connect like no other and then Michael leaves her. Why? Michael answers he has some kind of psychological condition.
“What is it to be human? What is it to ache? What is it to be alive? I don’t know” says Michael in his conference. Probably that’s what Kaufman is trying to tell us and in his silent subtle way exposing each one of us’s insecurities. I mean how many of us can answer those questions? How many of us question such questions?
Animation genre is largely considered as children’s film and hence they are rated U or PG. But, Anomalisa has been rated R, justly so. Because this is the movie for everyone who has some formed views about life, who has loved, been heartbroken or at least thought about those things. Charlie Kaufman has written and directed this movie and so the fervor of what he’s trying to say is quite intense. The use of dream-esque place adds stars to Charlie’s chef d’oeuvre. Such movies are seldom made and rarely appreciated at the time of release, much to its rescue it is being appreciated by the critics. Sadly the lack of screenings will ruin it’s box office report. Still it mustn’t be missed!