It should have been “Charlie Kaufman at full gallop”, finally free from the fear of producers and distributors, finally unrestrained thanks to a crowdfunding loan and tet Anomalisa is one of the most controlled and sober moviesof his own.
In this little ironic drama, which lasts less than 24 hours in Cincinnati, it’s possible to notice this great characters inventor’s abilities, that in the past had been eclipsed by fantasy and upsetting plots.
Obvioulsy, there’s few of the usual in Anomalisa, there are some visual inventions and some nightmares that recalls the senseless offices of Being John Malkovich or the places that constantly vary around Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind’s protagonist, but the great part of the movie is the one in which Micheal Stone spends his night in an hotel, with his pulsions and people with which he tries to be satisfied.
If the previous movie by Kaufman were a mixture of words and images, here there are especially words. As always, it’s a story about solitude, about the will to be understood and the reality to be alone with yourself, the feelings that destroy the main character, a writer (the author of a business masterpiece about how to optimize the customer care, who’s arrived in Cincinnati to talk about these themes in a conference). If you know Kaufman’s movie, you also know that dolls that move and the feelings they show in their stability are not something new: Spike Jonze has already worked on it, magnificently, in Being John Malkovich, but here dolls alterate plausibility to the metatextual. Kaufman doesn’t want to deprive himself from the possibility to show us that they are made of elemnts and to use that to reveal his Micheal Stone’s fear. Although it’s very funny, thanks to the fresh and unique humor we’re used to, Anomalisia puts in scene the pain we’re forced to live and the consequent desperation of the action to which it leads. Stone is not an unusual man, buthe’s a normal man, with his normal bitterness, and that’s his strenght.
Chamber plays like Anomalisa are not few, exactly like movies about solitudes, but this one has a sneeky malice and hate for theirselves like no other else. Kaufman, in the end, has the key ability that every upsetting author has: a sincere vicinity to the feelings he talks about. During all of his movies, you have the clear impression that it’s the author first to live those few and quick moments of joy, that fear, saddness; that it’s him to feel his hands trembling while he’s writing, and only later it’s him who puts in scene what strikes us so hard. This doesn’t mean to talk about ourselves, but about something you know so well that you can tell and edit in original ways, without the need lean on what other have done before. It means to recognize those feelings in actions and sentences that other can’t perceive, and to have the ability to light them up, in order to make everyone see them.
By Gabriele Niola
Photos: Alessio Costantino & Eleonora Agostini
Translation by Bianca Baroni
In collaboration with Badtaste.it