Anomalisa: Stop-Motion Drama Filled With Human Emotion
Recently, I tried to stop writing cards about these small, independent, beautiful, thought-provoking films. In this case, in the case for Anomalisa (the latest film written by Charlie Kaufman) I just had to. I was compelled to, I needed to, I felt like I had to share this with other people, even if most of them won't be interested.
Even though, it's only a trailer. There's so much I can say about it and can't say about it. And it's the things that I can't explain that are important. I can fill this card with how the animation looks amazing even though it's stop-motion. Or I could have argued that this movie completely pushes past Pixar. But it isn't that. I mean part of it is, but it isn't at the same time.
Have you ever been looking for something. And it wasn't a tangible something. Your mentor, older brother, or mother said this to you, "What you have to do is look inside yourself and see what needs to change". But that's such a vague question because there's so much inside of you, how do you know what is right and what is wrong?
Or maybe it's like a moment where you have to do something that you know will benefit others at the expense of yourself, or vice versa. And it's that unnamed emotion you have while making this decision that drives you. Even if it's just for a moment. It's being raised that there is only "right" and "wrong" without anything in between. That things like this don't exist on a spectrum but are binary.
Okay, so maybe it isn't so dreary as that. Maybe it's looking at someone you have feelings for. And you want to tell them how you feel about them but your words are confined to words like "beautiful", "love", and "amazing". But you use these words anyway, even though you know you feel a lot more than just those words. It's like those words aren't enough to express how you truly feel but it's all you've got and all they'll understand.
Do you get what I'm saying yet? I know I haven't really written a summary of what this movie is about, but don't you see it isn't about that? It's hardly about any of that. It's not even about the images on the screen, to some extent. Watch the trailer again and listen to what he's saying.
This movie, that stars puppets for the most part, is about humanity. It's about you, it's about me. And sure we follow an old English man but it isn't about him. It isn't about his love interest and it isn't about her. It's about all us. It's about the way we feel. It's about feeling things. And what feeling things means.
And the fact that we live in a world that's driven by numbers, or data, or how much money you make, it's hard to remember that we are all still emotional beings. That we do all have dark days and bright ones. It looks like this movie questions what it means to be human in the modern era. How do you know who you are or where your passion lies? How do you combat the mundanity of your everyday existence?
I doubt it answers these questions. It doesn't have to. Cinema never has to answer our questions. It just has to make us start asking some new ones and looking internally to find an answer for ourselves. This movie is telling us:
You have to look inside yourself -- deeply, truly -- and see how you can change for the better.
And all you have to look for is everything and nothing.
Anomalisa will be in select theaters on December 30th, 2015. It will be released nationwide in January.