David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
Directors: Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson
“A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary” (IMDB).
»Currently streaming on Amazon Prime«
What to Expect
Tom Noonan’s voice. Everywhere
I Can’t Feel My Face When I’m with You
Why You Should Watch It
One thing I found very enjoyable about the film was the little everyday nuances it included—knocking your noggin against the headboard, trying to figure out how to call room service, wondering if your hotel room key is going to work, wanting to rip someone’s throat out for chewing with their mouth open—you know, the small stuff. There’s also hints and connections to deeper meanings scattered like Easter eggs throughout the film that I’ll touch on in Spoilers. Even if you don’t pick up on why a certain detail is there, you know it has meaning that adds to the complexity of the story.
Michael Stone is having a mid-life crisis. Nothing excites him anymore. He’s just bored. But then he meets Lisa, whose voice (literally) stands out from everyone else’s. It is new and exciting. He sees no other flaws in Lisa because he is so enraptured by her voice. Even when they have sex he wants her to keep talking during it, because it is such a turn on for him. The morning after, of course, he begins to notice her flaws. She clicks her fork against her teeth, speaks with her mouth full, and suddenly spending forever with this anomaly is starting to look a bit like the same old boring hell. And with this realization her voice begins shift into Tom Noonan’s. Like many people, Stone thought the cure to his boredom was finding the Next Big Thing, but it’s not.
A fun little nugget Kaufman hid in this movie was in the name of the hotel, Fregoli. This alludes to Fregoli delusion, when the subject thinks that everyone is actually the same person. We see this in the uniform voices and faces of the other characters, and in Stone’s dream when he actually tells Lisa that they are the only two people in the world who are different. Noonan’s voice taking over Lisa’s only strengthens the delusion that everyone is the same, including her.
Another detail was the sex doll Stone brought home to his son. At the end, she is singing the Japanese song Momotaro, a story about a boy who was sent from heaven. As Lisa says in her letter to Stone, “anomarisa” supposedly means “goddess sent from heaven” (there’s no such word). You also notice that the doll is singing in Lisa’s unique voice. It has become the Next Big Thing for Stone. Especially if you believe the semen leaking out of it is from him…this also supports the argument some have that Lisa had always been the doll, and not a real person. Note the broken porcelain in the same spot behind the right eye, where Lisa’s scar is also located.
I would like to figure out why Stone’s face fell off in his dream. Did it have to do with Fregoli delusion in that even he is the same as everyone else? Is his “fake” face a hint at Lisa’s fake identity? Is his life falling apart? I’m almost certain there’s some deeper meaning to it, I just don’t know what.