After many long years, the world has finally been given the gift of a new Charlie Kaufman movie and thankfully it does not disappoint. His latest kickstarter funded project is a painfully funny and painfully moving love story in stop motion. While one might imagine that Kaufman’s first dip into animation would be his most surreal effort to date, in fact the film is as close to reality as he may ever prove to attempt. Perhaps that’s why he did it with animation. The guy just can’t help his absurdist self.
The story is about a motivational speaker named Michael (voiced by David Thewlis) who is burned out and alienated by the world. Everyone around him shares the same face and the voice of Tom Noonan. Michael just can’t connect with anyone or anything. He awkwardly stumbles through his routine gently disgusted by everyone around him until he finally hears another voice in the crowd (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Her name is Lisa. She too has a unique face and at least for a moment they share a bond and maybe love.
It’s a pretty poignant metaphor for those fleeting moments of connection with someone that everyone seeks and most are lucky to find even once. Kaufman’s decision to use stop motion animation is inspired, with the art form naturally adding a whiff of surrealism to the project. The work by co-director Duke Johnson and his animation team (who previously made a few brilliant Adult Swim series like Morel Orel) is absolutely gorgeous, achieving impressive human subtly in the performances that has rarely been seen in stop motion before. By the time they deliver a puppet sex scene, it’s starts off funny and then becomes oddly touching. You could say that about the movie itself, which like all Charlie Kaufman projects falls somewhere in between a grand joke on humanity and a painfully truthful depiction of the human experience that feels like an confessional open wound from it’s author.
TUE SEP 15 9:30 PM Princess of Wales
WED SEP 16 11:00 AM Elgin/Winter Garden Theatres Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
SAT SEP 19 6:15 PM Elgin/Winter Garden Theatres Visa Screening Room (Elgin)