Traditionally, the Oscar for Best Animated Film has belonged to Pixar or one of the other rival prestige studios that specialize in making kids movies that also appeal to parents. Anomalisa, on the other hand, is for adults only, and when it opens in theaters on Dec. 30, it could give Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur a run for their awards money.
Written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Anomalisa is the R-rated story of a semi-famous customer-service guru named Michael Stone who checks into the The Fregoli Hotel in Cincinnatti and promptly has a meltdown. The new trailer unveils the distinct look of the animation, but cleverly leaves out 99 percent of the plot.
The gist: Michael suffers from what is know as Fregoli syndrome, a psychological disorder that deludes the sufferer into seeing and hearing every person as identical. Note the similar faces of the stop-motion characters he encounters in the clip. And they all sound like actor Tom Noonan, even his wife and child. But Michael is rescued from his rut by Lisa, an otherwise ordinary young woman who stands out to him simply because she doesn’t resemble anyone else.
The movie wowed audiences at the film festivals and Paramount quickly picked it up and planned a holiday release. Not bad for a story that began as a “sound play” at UCLA and only got made after a Kickstarter campaign. The Community gang, led by Dan Harmon and Duke Johnson, who co-directed the film, helped make it a reality, and it’s fair to say, Anomalisa is unlike any movie you’ll see this year.