Animated can be a weird thing to define. Sure, hand drawn and colored films are animation. Classic example. Sure.

CGI films? They are new an exciting, but technically like, all films have CGI in them now. How much CGI needs to be in the film in order to count as animation? Apparently 75% according to the Academy*. Technically 300 might qualify.

So what about stop motion? Anomalisa is a film done with puppets, like Team America: World Police. Except instead of being puppets on strings walking around, it was stop motion, like The Boxtrolls. I still feel strange calling puppets stop motion animated, but for some other reason, claymation seems perfectly fine as animation.

This hurts my head. Let’s get this movie going!

The puppets tell me to burn things.

Michael Stone (David Thewlis) is a lonely man. He is an author, a self acclaimed expert on customer service. So yes, he writes books telling people how to be great with customers. So now he is on the road, doing a few conferences, giving speeches, selling books.

Now Michael is on the last leg of his tour. Cincinnati. According to the cab driver (Tom Noonan) there is a nice zoo sized zoo there. But he doesn’t care. He just wants to be lonely in his hotel room. He tries to contact an old flame for sex (Tom Noonan) but it doesn’t go so well. Crap, back to his shitty room.

That is until he hears a voice. Someone different. Someone that isn’t spouting the same bullshit. Her name is Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). He could listen to her talk all day. Or all night, if he can manage it.

Sure he has a wife (Tom Noonan) and kid (Tom Noonan) at home, but they are naggy and annoying. Lisa could change his life if he could convince her to run away with him.

Because she is different. She doesn’t sound like everyone else. Get it? Get it?! Tom. Noonan.

The Knights Who Say Tom Noonan run the world now.

It has been seven years since Charlie Kaufman has released a film he has written, and this time he was also co-director! He has written some great films, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Being John Malkovich. You know, he really likes the human mind.

So it is unique for him to want to do a story with puppets to convey more human emotion on screen, but it really works out. I know I made it obvious, but having only three unique voices in the film really drove the point home. Some could call it heavy handed, I would just call it smart.

Basically life sucks and depression sucks. The end.

Yes, there is more to it than that. The conversations seem real and the situations are incredibly awkward. I think my only real complaint about the movie is how long it really took for me to get going. I also wasn’t a big fan of the dream sequence.

I am most interested in the fact that this was actually a play first that was performed with real people in London. It is basically the same as this movie, including only three people throughout it. It sounds like an exciting** version of this story.

Great movie, but I still like Inside Out more.

3 out of 4.

* – I heard this once before and I am not checking my sources. Suck it.

** – This isn’t sarcastic, despite the fact that exciting doesn’t explain the film at all.

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