Charlie Kaufman has long been an original in Hollywood. As a scriptwriter he has been nominated for a trio of Oscars — Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (winning for this 2004 film) — but his latest offering garnered him his fourth Oscar nomination, not as a writer, but as the producer of one of the five Best Animated Film contenders.
The film in question is Anomalisa, which is an adaptation of his own stage play from 2005. The stage play was written under the pseudonym of Francis Fregoli, which, in turn, was a clever spin on the subject of the play itself (the Fregoli Delusion disorder).
Now everyone with an Oscar ballot knew that Inside Out was a lock for Best Animated Film. That’s just the way things work.
But so original is Anomalisa as a film — unique; special — that it really deserved its own category. Indeed, Kaufman felt that the only person best capable of handling the directing efforts was himself and completely went the “indie” route via a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds to finance the project.
It was completed after two arduous years and finally made its festival debut at the Telluride Film Festival in September of last year. It was promptly snapped up by Paramount for both theatrical and home entertainment distribution.
Word arrived this past week that Paramount Home Media will be releasing Anomalisa as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack offerings on May 3.
The ARR for that street date is 125 days and domestic ticket sales for the film’s limited major metro theatrical run currently stands at $2.7 million.
What is important to note about Anomalisa is that it was a Best Animated Feature contender — lots of visibility for that — but its widest theatrical release was only 169 screens nationwide. That means that virtually (speaking) no one has seen the film … which brings the May 3 DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack debut from Paramount Home Media as the first chance for most consumers, especially fans of Kaufman’s work, to enjoy this incredible film.
The gist of the story is Michael (voiced by David Thewlis — as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film series) is a well-renowned writer and “customer service” expert, who, sadly, suffers from the Fregoli Delusion disorder. This causes him to see everyone around him as the exact same person, with the exact same voice (all voiced by Tom Noonan).
This all changes while in Cincinnati at a conference when he hears a voice that is different from everyone else and becomes infatuated with the woman speaking those golden tones. Her name is Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh), a plain jane with a facial scar, but Michael finds her ravishing.
Is he about to have a breakthrough? Or, a breakdown!! That’s the fun of this mesmerizing film … be sure to check Anomalisa out on May 3.
As to bonus goodies, there are a trio of featurettes that are exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack — “None of Them are You: Crafting Anomalisa,” “Intimacy in Miniature” and “The Sound of Unease.”