Saturday, January 16, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW OF ANOMALISA: An Edward Hopper Painting Come to Life



Charlie Kaufman's film ANOMALISA is the movie that moved and thrilled me the most this year. It's not for everyone, but it was for me. Kaufman gives us trippy, amazing movies like ETERNAL SUNSHINE, and BEING JOHN MALKOVICH. And this movie is just as trippy and amazing but not in his usual way. Eternal Sunshine threw us into sci-fi territory with a machine that could erase painful memories, and the visuals were a beautiful nightmare. Malkovich gave us John M in a red dress on a piano, John M in a hallucination of multiple Malkoviches.
But ANOMALISA felt different to me. What was trippy was the presentation (stop motion puppets) but for a change the content was surprisingly naturalistic and realistic (middle aged man has identity crisis en route to giving a motivational speech). But it's in the lovely, cryptic dialog, the surrealism appears. Kind of like in a Haruki Murakami novel where simple reality starts taking tiny, menacing, magical U-turns. 
It also reminded me of an Edward Hopper painting come to life with its urban loneliness and empty hallways, places peopled with mannequins yearning to be alive.

Other movies I enjoyed this year: CONCUSSION gave us Will Smith with an African accent and a character unlike himself. He was lovely and touching as a coroner who literally speaks to the dead. SPOTLIGHT was about the pursuit of truth and justice thru a deeply flawed system where no one, not even the audience, is let off the hook easily. The acting ensemble rocked, led by Mark Ruffalo. But it wasn't until I saw ANOMALISA that I could say I really was blown away by a movie in 2015. Thank you, Charlie Kaufman for restoring my faith.

Posted by Dwight Okita
www.DwightOkita.com

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