It’s been seven years since the release of Charlie Kaufman’s last film, Synecdoche, New York, which doubled as his directorial debut. Now the writer of Adaptation and Being John Malkovich is back with Anomalisa, a project that began, in turn, as a play and Kickstarter-funded short before blossoming into the wildly praised feature film it is today.
Anomalisa is rendered entirely in stop-motion, a move that, in the trailer at least, conjures a surreal visual tone in line with Kaufman’s sensibilities. The plot follows Michael Stone, a motivational speaker whose dreary routine is disrupted by Lisa, a stranger voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Existential crisis, true love, the mundanity of daily life—this is definitely a Kaufman film, one that happens to look like a beautiful, melancholy hybrid of Up in the Air and Love Happens. Anomalisa is out Dec. 30.