Do we need another Charlie Kaufman film about a sad man and the woman who reminds him to smile?

For all their weirdness and unpredictability, Charlie Kaufman's films tend to share two traits: an imaginative inspection of what's actually happening beneath the surface of what we perceive to be reality, and a central male figure whose eyes are opened by a striking, albeit quirky, woman. Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the label applied to lesser versions of similar female characters, who serve little additional purpose than to guide a man through his journey. The women in Kaufman's films are richer and more complex, but their purpose remains the same. The follow-up to Kaufman's ambitious Synecdoche, New York — a film about a play that gradually blurs the line between its own fiction and reality — Anomalisa is comparably small and grounded.

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