I did my usual ‘Anomalisa Ebert’ google search to see which rogerebert.com reviewer reviewed it and how many stars they gave it. And as luck would have it, Matt Zoller Seitz did the review. I don’t really care for the others who now work the rogerebert.com reviews, but I always pay sit up and attention to what Matt says, and his first line got me out the door and to the theater to see this:
There’s everything else happening in America cinema, and then there’s whatever Charlie Kaufman is up to.
And I’m sitting there, and there’s maybe 5 or 6 other people in there for the first showing of the day. And knowing that Kaufman did the screenplay for Being John Malkovich, I kind of got the gist of what was going on, slowly, though there are subtleties that freaked me out. He also wrote Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and wrote and directed Synecdoche, New York.
An example. There’s a scene in Meet the Parents toward the end when Focker is fed up and is getting out of town and is standing in front of the ticket lady at the airport who’s typing away seemingly endlessly, and it’s a similar scene but the guy typing keeps eye contact with the customer and never looks down once, and you’re thinking, touch typing – he’s good, but it goes on and on and the guy’s printing and doesn’t look at the paper coming out, it’s just freaky. And that’s the tip of the iceberg, if you pay attention.
[spoiler]Watch Lisa’s roommate when they first meet, her face, then see what she looks like at the end when they are driving home.[spoiler]
For me, this film didn’t earn it’s 5 stars immediately, it was cumulative, if that makes any sense. My mind may be slow, but it finally recognized what I was seeing for what it was.