An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty (2013)

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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, … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Terence Nance
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 30, 2013
Box Office: $66.0k
Runtime:
Variance Films - Official Site

Cast


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as Narrator

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Critic Reviews for An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (12)

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).

Full Review… | June 27, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 27, 2013
Washington Post
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 20, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 28, 2013
Village Voice
Top 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.

Full Review… | April 25, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

jakelloydnemesis
Michael Hopson

Super Reviewer

"It began looking interesting. It became increasingly and annoyingly self-indulgent." - Rodd Whelpley (I agree.)

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