Monday, December 31, 2012

Movie Review: It's Such a Beautiful Day

It’s Such a Beautiful Day
Directed by: Don Hertzfeldt.
Written by: Don Hertzfeldt.
Starring: Don Hertzfeldt (Narrator).

Don Hertzfeldt’s It’s Such a Beautiful Day is one of the most unique animated films you will ever see. It is actually three short films – Everything Will Be OK (2006), I Am So Proud of You (2009) and It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2011) that Hertzfeldt has edited together into a seamless feature film of just over an hour long. It was barely released in theaters, and can be purchased on his website (, which I encourage everyone to do. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a DVD from a friend, and the film, while crudely animated, is actually quite sophisticated in its storytelling, sound design and at times, its visual effects. This is a one of a kind film that you should track down.

The film is about Bill, an animated stick figure in a top hat. The movie takes place mainly in his mind as it slowly falls apart. At first his visions, dreams and nightmares are simply surreal, and at times downright hilarious. But the film gets darker as it goes along, and ends up being a rather touching, sad reminder of mortality.

Why is Bill’s failing falling apart? For much of the movie, we don’t know, and neither does Bill. Eventually we will learn he has been diagnosed with some sort of disease – what I don’t think the film ever says. The movie contains a flashback to his childhood, which helps to explain why Bill is the way he is. And there is also a rather touching relationship with an ex-girlfriend, who seems to the be the only person who truly loves Bill.

I don’t want to talk too much about the story, because I think it is better left unsaid. What I will say is that although Bill is nothing more than a stick figure in a top hat, he is also a touching, realistic person that anyone watching can relate to. You will be surprised just how much you come to care about this little man.

The entire movie was made by Hertzfeldt working by himself, doing everything by hand. The animated sequences are inventive in their own crudely drawn way. There is also some interesting, lve action practical special effects sequences which are even more inventive in what Hertzfeldt is able to achieve. The sound design is even more impressive, especially in a few sequences where Bill’s mind seems to be completely falling apart.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a testament to what one man can accomplish when he has a story he wants to tell, and the skill and determination to do so in an intelligent way. Hertzfeldt is a one of a kind filmmaker, and It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a one of a kind film.

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