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Stars: Voices: Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Thewlis, Tom Noonan

Director: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson

Middle-aged British father and motivational book author Michael Stone is on a business trip to talk about his work Cincinnati where, miserable as hell over his humdrum life, he meets self-conscious sales rep Lisa Hesselman in the Hotel Fregoli and starts ti feel alive again. Will she turn out to be the love of his life?

Kaufman’s first animated creation: the animation is magnificent and features the most impressive puppet sex scene ever seen in a mainstream movie.

Here, as usual, David Thewlis, who voices Stone, is triumphantly better heard than seen. Jennifer Jason Leigh scores speaking for Lisa Hesselman while Tom Noonan works hard as the “voice of everyone else”. Noonan voices the majority of characters, male and female: artistic, certainly, but ultimately tending towards being irritating.


Critical consensus – a masterpiece perhaps.

This reviewer – clever, one of a kind and uniquely the first film to feature a giant dancing penis and a clockwork Japanese sex doll. But, despite the ingenious puppetry, it might probably work just as well as a radio play and seem shorter too.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Curzon/Artificial Eye. Colour.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Jul 2016

DVD review