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I saw this movie right after Christmas and have struggled with how to write about it. First, I highly recommend seeing it, as the effect is hard to describe. Some highlights: Michael, a husband, father, and author of a best selling book on customer service is tired and has become disconnected from life around him (picture mid-life crisis). Everyone around him literally has exactly the same voice. He travels to a convention to speak about his book and meets Lisa, a big fan (Michael’s book has helped improve their customer service by 90%!). The director uses stop motion animation of puppets to create the living characters. The result is a movie in which the puppet characters appear human in almost every way – they are insecure, physically imperfect, they have sex. The odd thing that happened to me was that, while the puppets helped enhance the sense of disconnection happening in the characters, by the end of the movie I felt very connected to the two characters. The film had me at the beginning sequence – flying into Cincinnati, taking the cab and listening to a taxi driver who wouldn’t stop talking, checking into the hotel with a key card that doesn’t work the first time – I just saw the dull and routine aspects of my travel life from the past several years, in all of its excruciating and boring detail, in one 20 minute sequence. Big thumbs up for a movie that is highly original in its concept and execution (what else should we expect from Charlie Kaufman who also wrote Being John Malkovich?) and that tells an emotional story that is very universal in its message. I loved this film; it will be one of my favorites of the year. (2015, 5 stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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