The film centers around married Brit Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis, The Theory of Everything), a motivational speaker on work assignment in Cleveland. Bored and depressed, Michael strikes a rapport with Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight) and begins an affair. Character actor Tom Noonan (Damages) voices every other character. As with everything with Kaufman, there’s more under the surface- Kaufman previously made his directorial debut with the 2008 comic drama Synecdoche, New York, a film that starred the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Leigh had a supporting role).
The film made its world premiere at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival and also played the recent Toronto and Venice film festivals (winning a Grand Jury Prize at the latter). Next up, Anomalisa will play AFI Fest in Hollywood. Paramount Pictures snapped up rights to the movie following strong early reviews- the distributor is likely hoping to make an awards run with Anomalisa, which thanks to enthusiastic early reaction may make a movie on Inside Out, the presumed frontrunner for the animated feature Oscar.
Anomalisa opens in theaters on December 30th.