I am doll parts


Ends tonight, Feb. 11. Pageant Theatre. Rated R.
Rated 4.0

Anomalisa, the strangely charming new film written (and co-directed) by Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York) tells a rather banal story, but the unusual manner and form of the telling brings a surprisingly durable quality of enchantment to the proceedings.

Michael Stone, the author of a popular book on customer service, travels alone to Cincinnati for a speaking engagement. He has a wife and children at home, but with time on his hands before the lecture, he makes mildly fraught contact with a former girlfriend and then, back at the hotel, meets two somewhat starstruck young women who are in town to hear his lecture. Lisa, the less forward of the pair, catches Michael’s interest and a low-key romance begins gathering a quiet momentum.

Kaufman and co-director Duke Johnson present all this via stop-motion animation with David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh doing the voices of the two main characters. The overall effect distances the audience and yet also puts us in a better position to recognize and appreciate the avowed theme, the special beauty of all things mundane.