Anomalisa (2015 – Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson)

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There’s an awful lot of joy to be had in reading about a film before you go and see it.  For one, it allows you to have all kinds of interesting opinions to regurgitate afterwards to anyone within earshot.  And secondly…it can stop you being a complete idiot.  There’s a point in Anamolisa when you have the suddening realisation that you are a complete fool.  “All the other voices are the same!” you exclaim, after several dozen characters have spoken.

But don’t worry, because this film will allow you to claw back your self-righteous belief in your own marvelousness.  Because they sound the same because everyone else in the world is an idiot!  They are conformists, driven by capitalism to seek out brief pleasures in material goods.  They are inane, chattering away in ever appalling circles of pathetic self-absorption.  And the time you think you have met someone who is an exception to this ordinariness; it is a futile act of self-delusion, because they are not.  That ‘exception’ is as brief (and blissful) as a moment of ejaculation.  But all that is left afterwards is a sticky mess.

It is after all, a film for those people who believe that they are the exceptions to foolishness – the truth seekers/speakers/seers in society.  The lead puppet is the only individual with any individuality (strange that a puppet, reliant on the life that can only be given by the hands of humans, is presented as the ultimate individual).  And that drive to present him as the only soul in this film can be damaging.  There is no consideration of the predatory nature of his seduction – that he targets a deeply vulnerable woman.  This woman, who is as abused as much by the filmmakers as the characters within it, is condemned to a provinciality and plainness that no soul deserves.  We all are at the centre of our own narratives.

I talked to my friend afterwards.  I nattered on, regurgitating my half-remembered and utterly ignorant critical theory and philosophy.  My voice drowned away into a sea of sameness…

Seen at Picturehouse Central.  Lovely sized screen.  He paid (but it would have cost £13).

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