“What is it to be human?” asks a human character — represented as a puppet — at the beginning of the trailer for Charlie Kauffman’s upcoming film, Anomalisa. Already in the images accompanying this heavy words, we see more than we had all year regarding the imminent release of the film; previously, the most common image circulated from the film was a close-up of the back of a puppet’s head. Indeed, before, we had to pair this very limited vision with the notion that the film currently holds a 100 on Rotten Tomatoes and has been hailed as a masterpiece from Kaufman.
The trailer now fills in that vision to a large extent, showing us the two main characters, Lisa and Michael, and the generic hotel in which the film’s story unfolds. There’s some unfortunate voiceover, but that doesn’t get too much in the way of the beauty of the expressiveness of the film’s stop-motion animation.
This is the second feature the writer of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will have directed, after his play within a play within a play within a film, Synecdoche, New York (which he also wrote). It follows a middle aged public speaker puppet voiced by David Thewlis (you’ll know the power of what he can accomplish with his voice if you’ve seen Naked) to a hotel, where he meets and has his banal life interrupted by another puppet voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh (amounting to what /Film calls, despite or perhaps because of the lack of real humans, “the most realistic and tender sex scene in any movie in recent memory”).
The film is getting a limited release on December 30, 2015, and will be given a wide release in January 2016.
Watch the trailer: