Double Feature Review: ‘Anomalisa’ and ‘The Little Prince’
The Animation genre had a great run in the year 2015. Unlike most years, some of the best films of 2015 were actually animation films. While the subject of ‘Inside Out’ was a groundbreaking one and gave new meanings to what animation cinema can achieve, there was a devastatingly haunting film in ‘The Boy and the World‘, a political horror film seen through the eyes of a kid in search of his his father. Anomalisa was expectedly a Kaufman-esque dream, while the sad coming of age Drama ‘When Marnie was there‘ lived upto the expectations one has from a Ghibli Studio movie. It was one of those rare Oscar years in which the names at the Best Animation film category looked even better than the titles in the Best Picture Category.
Here is my double feature review of two brilliant films from the genre; ‘Anomalisa‘ and ‘The Little Prince.’
*There may be spoilers*
What make us Humans different from other Animals? Among many answers to this question, one important answer is the over abundance of Anomaly among us. We are random, inconsistent and different from each other, in one way or another. However, when you are so worn out due to the mundane nature of your successful life, you find everyone just mere copies of each other, with little difference to tell them apart, you fail to see the anomaly. Michael Stone, the protagonist of Anomalisa is suffering from a similar delusion and possibly that it has become a condition for him, an incurable disease that no one, absolutely no one makes him feel different than others.
He is in Cincinnati for a couple of days, preparing for a speech he is going to deliver the next day but he cannot concentrate. The fact that his ex-girlfriend, Bella, with whom he broke up a decade ago, is in the same city making him anxious or maybe he is just looking for Sex and this is a bright chance to score. He calls Bella, talks with her nicely and sets up a meeting at one of the Restaurants of the FREGOLI Hotel, he is staying at.
There is nothing profound in his conversations with Bella; all he is looking for is an opportunity to FUCK. His mundane life has made him too mechanical and devoid of real emotions, but he can fake, oh he can totally fake. After his failed attempt to lay with Bella, he meets two more women, the same night. Only this time, he sees an Anomaly in a person, maybe after years, her name is Lisa.
He invites Lisa to his room for a ‘little nightcap’. For a brief stint, Lisa, came off as the light he was looking for, all his life. A Person among puppets, someone with an imperfect face line, a different sounding vocal cord and may be his first chance in years to actually live again with a different person from everyone else in the universe. But as he spends more time with her, an extra meal to be precise, he is taken in by the mundane again, losing the anomaly by confusing her with the regular.
Towards the film’s ending, as we listen to the words of the letter Lisa wrote for Michael, we hear her beautiful voice, the one which sang the pretty Italian song, but to Michael, it sounded just like anybody else’s boring masculine voice. Anomarisa, Goddess of Heaven, he lost her, I believe.
The Little Prince
“Growing up isn’t a problem, forgetting is.”
There is a little Girl and her mother who lives in a highly rigorous scheduled lifestyle. The mother’s only goal is to enroll her little child in the prestigious Werth Academy. She has figured out things for her, every little thing that is going to shape her into an idealistic ‘grown up’. But life has other plans, life always has other plans and the little girl breaks some rules, a few. She makes a friend, an old man in the neighborhood, known as The Aviator. Now the old man has a story to tell, the story that is going to change the girl’s life. The Story about The Little Prince.
Mark Osborne’s The Little Prince is a commentary on growing up and portrays the ironic contrast of our very own characters as a child and as a grown up. Children have so many dreams, visions and in their own little way, every child is an artist. They can see animals in a cloudy sky, make castles with sand and pretend to fly in a paper plane but as they grow up, they not just become logical and rational, something dies in them, the longing to create and this result in forgetting the gift they were born with, the gift to imagine.
The little prince is a clever but not a misleading title. Even if the movie always remains about the little girl, it never ceases to acknowledge the significance of the little prince and his story. The animation in Little Prince is extremely intelligent. There is the highly advanced paramount animation telling the real time story, while there is another stop motion animation which is used to tell the stories between the aviator and the little prince. This is brilliantly used as a bridge to distinguish reality from fiction. This isn’t a unique film but then ‘it is only with heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is often invisible to the eye.’