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An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty (2013)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 628

My Rating

Movie Info

Executive producers Jay-Z, Dream Hampton, and Wyatt Cenac present Terence Nance's explosively creative debut feature, AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY. With arresting insight, vulnerability, and a delightful sense of humor, the film documents the relationship between Terence (Nance) and a lovely young woman (Namik Minter) as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. Utilizing a tapestry of live action and multiple styles of animation, the film blurs the line between narrative,


Animation, Comedy, Special Interest

Terence Nance

Sep 30, 2013


Variance Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (7)

Bold and varied animation sequences lift this into the stratosphere before it falls back into Nance's obsessively layered narrative; the resulting film is both beautiful and disorienting (just like love).

June 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the movie doesn't paint a clear sense of Nance's emotional side, one thing is certain: He is an artist with creativity to spare. This effort may not have been wholly successful, but it's a promising start to what could be a thrilling career.

June 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is an emotionally exhausting but ultimately rewarding kaleidoscope of video, animation, words and music - and feelings on top of feelings on top of feelings.

June 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The excess and earnestness suit the subject - the ephemeral and all-consuming nature of romantic love.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What saves the film-and grandly-is Nance's wildly ambitious visual imagination.

April 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dense, organic, dazzling and funny tapestry, making use of varied and subtly colored animation and stop-motion; candid video; playfully verbose direct address; chapters and footnotes and doodles; and suavely chosen music and sonic bridges.

April 25, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not so much a feature film as a series of cinematic doodles and self-reflexive ruminations on the subject of obsessive love.

February 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Independent

Nance dissects himself with candour and self-deprecating charm, ensuring that beneath the experimentation this is deeply relatable.

February 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Mind-boggling fare indeed.

February 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Hyperbolic adjectives such as dizzying, effervescent, kaleidoscopic and exhilarating spring to mind but don't adequately convey the craft and persistence that have gone into this confessional slice of (semi) non-fiction.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Those who don't often delve into the avant-garde and left-field film-making may struggle to warm to this atypical love story but there's no denying Nance has a distinctive voice.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Even without any proper dramatic scenes, this swirling collage of a movie draws us into its story and situations, revealing deep truths about relationships.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source:

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is a love story, and it appropriately feels as if it has been made with the heart more than the head.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Not a square millimetre of the director's navel is left ungazed at in Terence Nance's film of interviews with a beautiful woman he loves.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian

The film is annoying at times, hugely inventive at others. The animation sequences are cult-collectable.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Writer-director-actor Terence Nance's feature debut is a stylistically bold, original and deeply introspective drama-slash documentary that puts an intriguing arthouse spin on the standard romcom template.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Garrulous and a little pretentious, but also sweet, and astute enough to allow the dream girl a right of reply.

February 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Scotsman

A frustratingly ungraspable movie collage compiled with real visual flair.

February 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Terence Nance's debut feature and festival favorite, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, is anything but.

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

An artistic but unpretentious examination of young love, with all its uncertainties and mini-tragedies.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty

An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty should perhaps have been retitled "An Overthinking of Her Everything". Developed over the course of six years by writer, director, and star Terence Nance, the aesthetically fluid film is an autobiographical examination of an idyllic relationship he always seems to be on the cusp of, but was never mature enough to handle. Ponderous and ever-present narration (told by The Wire's Reg E. Cathey) informs us that the film will be split into two chapters, and further divided into multiple chapters, embedded within is Nance's 2010 short film, How Would You Feel? If having the film's structure explained sounds like a good way to take the audience right out of the experience, then you'd be right. It shows a lack of trust in the audience and in the clarity of his own story, and that need to excruciatingly detail every aspect kills any personal insights Nance is trying to reflect.

Once we get past the unnecessarily complicated intro, Nance's keenly observational exploration of urban relationships, told with seemingly random comic asides and insights, suggest a kinship to the early works of Spike Lee. The first chapter details what appears to be another day, as Nance tries to arrange an evening engagement with the girl of his dreams, Namik Winter, but finding it difficult to do so for one reason or another. The loopy time structure repeatedly folds in on itself, tediously presenting the same scene with new information. Nance has a lot to say about himself, but struggles to get right down to it. When he finally does, it comes out in floods and never stops. An exhausting flow of self-examination is thankfully broken up by truly inventive visuals as Nance switches up the medium at a whim, combining hand drawn animation, claymation, and gritty archival footage. Unquestionably this is one of the most original films of the year, but as Nance continually switches gears and adds more artistic flourishes, he overwhelms us with information in an attempt to make his story unique.

Nance bravely presents a "warts and all" version of himself, an immature Bohemian manchild who both pushes the women who love him away, and pines for the ones who show the least interest. Namik gets the better end of the deal as she's the vision of a strong, intelligent, diverse African-American woman. Switching into documentary mode with a heavy reliance on archival footage, we see Nance as he presents a version of the film to a private audience, all without Namik's permission. When he confronts her with it, she expresses displeasure at it the one-sided nature of the story, but she doesn't seem too upset at having her life put on display. In fact, she doesn't really seem to care as much as Nance tries to make it appear, perhaps to try and drum up some tension that is sorely lacking. An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty works as a beautiful visual patchwork quilt, and there's a lot to admire, but it probably would have worked better as a short subject than a feature film.
June 30, 2013

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