Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

There’s an honest pleasure at work in Michel Gondry’s diverting animated documentary, the subject of which is a series of conversations with the linguist, political activist, and philosopher Noam Chomsky. Gondry’s doodles and figures are representations, or visualisations, of Chomsky’s ideas: occasionally the director gets in something of a muddle, but he’s unfailingly self-deprecating, and admits at every turn when his questions don’t facilitate the responses he was thinking they would. Chomsky has a habit of spinning out ideas from smaller ones, using one example that, during the first stages of explanation, happens to strike him as an apropos way of thinking about another topic. That’s not to say he isn’t a clear thinker, and hearing the protean professor explain (and watching Gondry think with lines about Chomsky’s thoughts), in the best terms, the nature of an argument or problem is a joy of logical organisation. It’s a warm 88-minutes.

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