Anomalisa – Film4

This surreal comedy drama is a must-see instant classic from writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman

This surreal comedy drama is a must-see instant classic from writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman.

The mind behind such oddball screenplay classics as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman has come up with his weirdest movie yet – a film about consumer culture and the human condition featuring stop-motion puppets.

Originally performed as a staged sound play in LA in 2005 with the same cast of three, the film revolves around David Thewlis’ burnt-out business guru, who has flown into Cincinnati to deliver a motivational speech. Totally lacking in pep himself, he is so alienated that everyone he meets appears exactly the same – indeed, every figure on screen save two has the same face and the voice of actor Tom Noonan – until he encounters Jennifer Jason Leigh’s vulnerable but sweet-natured phone sales rep and has a fling with her.

Co-directing with puppeteer Duke Johnson, Kaufman has produced a film that is ineffably strange and sad and funny. They may only be puppets, the joins in their faces all too disconcertingly noticeable, but Thewlis’ Michael and Leigh’s Lisa are recognisably real in their desires and anxieties, and their sex scene might just be the most truthful Hollywood has ever produced.