An Oversimplification of Her Beauty Screen 10 articles

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

2012

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty Poster
  • The subject is involuted, downward-spiraling thought, the kind that's both wittily interesting to read and tediously self-exculpatory to be the oral receiver of. Meaning this is the closest thing I've seen to a David Foster Wallace adaptation, though it's definitely Too Much Of A Good Thing (I can only imagine what the 3-hour cut was like).

  • It’s hard to think of a more original, mind-blowing reinvention of the usual boy-meets-girl story. Such a nonstop go-for-broke sensibility can be too much of a good thing, of course, and there are moments when the filmmaker’s mix-and-match methodology feels tuned to the key of migraine. Overambitiousness can turn a valentine into hot air and white noise, but it can also serve as a calling card for an artist finding his pitch—and Nance is indeed an artist, pure and simple.

  • It's ambitious, constantly layering and re-evaluating the nuances of image and idea, and the openly addressed emotions are refreshing in their lack of cynicism or shame. Perhaps this is the film's greatest strength: it's utter shamelessness. It revels in exploring the visual and presenting as many beautiful things as possible, and it does this while investigating a familiar attraction in exacting detail.

  • The women Nance pines away for are so complicated in his eyes, so overvalued and mythologized that he can barely bring himself to turn the camera upon them. So he has created a film (and a persona) to protect himself, and them, from the desires he recognizes as puny and jejune... Much like Michel Gondry, Nance is an introvert and a scribbler who can fall a bit too much in love with his own vortices. Still, I can't think of another first-time filmmaker whose next project I'm more excited to see.

  • To criticise this film is to criticise Terence Nance's interpretation of love but, hey, that's our prerogative and — to his credit — he has included the less-than-fawning response of the woman it's ostensibly all about, a thoughtful ingenue named Namik Minter... It seems like Nance fetishises beauty, using it as a tool to stimulate his artistic imagination. His saving grace is it's one hell of an artistic imagination.

  • Alternates between dazzling invention and pretentious junk with verbose voice-over that seems to have been written by The Engineer in the Matrix movies... A calling card, but also wildly personal and full of earnest feeling (ironically, the bit I trust most of all is when hero recalls that his childhood was full of unconditional love; it feels exactly like the kind of film made by someone who's always been told that he's wonderful). It's a slog, but you can't dismiss it.

  • Oversimplification is both unprecedented and familiar, with antecedents in both mainstream and art cinema. It recalls inventive, formally ingenious films with hapless, self-involved but charming actor-directors like Annie Hall, while its questions about fact versus fiction recall another, just as elaborately titled meta-work, William Greaves’s 1968 Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. But for me, it chiefly brings to mind Barry Jenkins’s 2008 Medicine for Melancholy...

  • This brisk and self-searching, sharply intelligent and deeply vulnerable romantic comedy is a masterwork of reflexive construction... The entire dazzling panoply of Nance’s artistry comes off as a vast performance on the stage of life to woo Minter; romantic obsession has rarely been filmed as sweetly, love’s labors rarely revealed so insightfully as their own reward.

  • Something like “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” isn’t dreamed up; it’s made and sustained. Mr. Nance moves us through his diverse visuals, fashioned over an extended period of collaboration, with an intuitive elegance and style. His patchwork scheme... recalls hybrid creations in American avant-garde cinema (imitating watercolor, line drawing, collage), as well as the dreamily puddling creations of 1970s animation, with their spontaneous sense of cosmology.

  • ...It’s a colourful, diaristic collage of documentary, direct address, fictionalised memory, animation and diverse musical choices. Clearly influenced by the structurally elastic, meta-yet-heartfelt films of Charlie Kaufmanand Michel Gondry (2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in particular), An Oversimplification is nevertheless a sui generis work so intricate that it possesses a built-in replay value. The one thing it isn’t is oversimplified.

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