It's Such a Beautiful Day
It's Such a Beautiful Day
2012. Directed by Don Hertzfeldt.
Originally presented as a trilogy, Hertzfeldt's first feature length film, It's Such a Beautiful Day is a masterpiece not only in animation, but in emotional tale telling.
The story is about Bill, who is suffering from a possibly fatal mental condition that makes memories hard to hold onto and reality more of a concept than a constant.
Watching this film I was immediately reminded of Danielewski's House of Leaves and David Lynch's volume of work. Both gravitate to the concept that love and humanity are both the most important thing and the most terrifying, whether in their presence or absence. Every nightmare scenario involves your loved ones. Bill's story is that, a twisted black comedy horror tale and the ultimate statement on the power of love and the human condition.
This film is a karmic experience. It's transcends normal animated fare and art house award bait with ease. Every frame of the stick figure magnum opus is a sublime examination on the everyday things we often take for granted. Our fears, hopes, loves...everything is fair game. Hertzfeldt himself narrates and his voice tenuously walks the line between narrator and hysterical reporter, helping the film to achieve a sense of bear trap bravado, taking your by surprise and then only tightening the metaphysical vice grips as the story progresses.
It's Such a Beautiful Day is filmed using Hertzfeldt's stick figure menagerie presentation style: Taking simple stick figure animations and splicing them with real world footage. The cinematography (also done by Hertzfeldt) is stained and grainy, much like Bill's mind. When the characters interact with their faded photo counterparts, the result is unsettling. The viewer wanders through the dark, decaying house of Bill's mind with hilarious and sometimes chilling results.
This is an important film because it accomplishes two goals simultaneously. As mentioned it ruminates on themes of love and family and self discovery. Additionally, this a story about living and coping with a mental health disorder. It takes a thoughtful approach to how people with these problems see the world and how in turn, they are viewed by the world around them. It's heartbreaking and healing at the same time, almost in the same frame throughout the film's 62 minute duration, making it an intoxicating ballad of a man (or world) gone mad who's finale riposte against the monsters is to live a happy existence of self acceptance.
Available now on Netflix, It's Such a Beautiful Day is a film with extreme depth and a genuine, heart bruising message whose importance extends far beyond the screen. See this movie.