anomalisa trailer

There are still two months remaining in 2015, but I find it hard to believe that I will see a better movie than Anomalisa before the year is out. Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson‘s stop-motion animated drama is an unflinchingly real and achingly human masterpiece. It’s a beautiful recreation of what is feels like to fall in love and a bitter, black-hearted portrait of despair and mundane desperation. It’s about as perfect as movies can get. And it’s done entirely with puppets.

Watch the Anomalisa trailer after the jump.

After deliberately hiding itself for the better part of a year (the film only released two images prior to this trailer), two minutes of footage from Anomalisa are here. For most people, this will be their first look at the film’s unique aesthetic. You may wonder why a film set almost entirely in a series of hotel rooms had to be done with stop-motion, but the reason is abundantly clear early in the film. The trailer spares the exact why of this creative choice, so we’ll leave you to discover it yourself when you see this movie. And yes, this is required watching for all film fans. The early buzz was right.

The trailer only touches on about 50% of the emotions this movie will inspire in your soul. This is a tricky movie to talk about and a trickier movie to sell. I’ll leave it at that.

Charlie Kaufman is, of course, the Oscar-winning scribe behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the director of the bleak masterpiece Synecdoche, New York. Duke Johnson is best known for directing that incredible stop-motion Christmas episode of Community. It turns out that the two of them are a match made in cinephile heaven. Anomalisa is a movie that could have only been made by these two. It’s a deeply personal, wounded movie. There may not be a single living human being on screen during the entire running time, but all of the characters feel so alive and so vulnerable. Kaufman’s screenplay is him cutting himself open and letting his deepest insecurities, frustrations, and fears spill out. You are watching puppets, but you feel like you are watching something you shouldn’t be seeing. Anomalisa a cinematic confession. It’s a fantasia for the lost and the broken-hearted.

Johnson’s puppets are rendered with every human detail – they breathe, they showcase varying body postures, they have unique physical tics, and they even have sex (in what may be the most realistic and tender sex scene in any movie in recent memory). Their voices, supplied by the likes David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan, are perfect.

Thewlis plays Michael, a professional speaker spending the night in a Cleveland hotel for  job. Leigh is Lisa, a woman he meets. Their relationship, formed over one long night, is something to behold and the fallout is something to dissect, to reflect upon, and to consider. Meanwhile, Noonan plays… well, you can see for yourself who Noonan plays, but he is the movie’s secret weapon.

Anomalisa will open on December 30, 2015 in limited release before going wide in January 2016. In other words, it wants those Oscars (although it’s probably too good to actually win any). You need to see this one.

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