Although it is not completely flawless in its efforts, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is the most original and innovative independent film of the year.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Do not be confused by the title, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is by no means a simple film. The film is broken up into several parts, some of which include several sections within, containing a film within film with layers of artistic illustrations on top of documentary style footage. There is a rather simplistic underlining theme of examining one’s own feelings, but the film presents it in an ambitious style that is anything but simple. Not only is it the type of experimental film that would play in an art gallery, but it happens to be the very demographic it is sure to satisfy.
It does not take long at all to realize that An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is not your run-of-the-mill film. Following the opening credit sequence, the film is paused and a deep voiced narrator explains that a short film entitled How Would You Feel? will be shown in order to provide context to the story of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. The premise is extremely basic. A man (Terence Nance) arrives home from a long day at work eager have the girl he has a romantic interest with over at his place. However, she calls to tell him she will not be coming over. The narrator then asks, “How would you feel?”
Narration continues throughout the entire film, putting the viewer in a hypnotic state with its poetic tone and repetitive use of the same phrases. The visuals aid in sustaining the trance but frequent interruptions between the different sections with the “stop and eject” effect, which mimics old-school VHS tapes, serves as a cruel wake up call for the audience. As does direct questioning the audience about how they would feel in certain situations. Though on a positive note, this also adds a wonderful self-aware aspect to the film.
The one-of-a-kind visual sensory experience of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is as pretentious and fatiguing as it is ingenious and original. The use of illustrations and stop-motion renderings help exemplify all of the emotions felt during a relationship in an imaginative way that cannot be overstated. However, the messy jumping back-and-forth structure between sections eventually grows tiresome by the end. Each section of the film can stand on their own, but are not very cohesive with the surrounding sections. Therefore, An Oversimplification of Her feels like a fragment of several short films instead of one unified film merely comprised of the short films.
Because An Oversimplification of Her Beauty itself is an abstract piece of art, some will marvel at its beauty while others will fail to see anything significant. An entire film based on exploring and trying to understand the emotions of a relationship is a bold objective to accomplish, especially through the use of several visual mediums and self-aware editing. The very notion of attempting such lofty goals is something to admire. The most unfortunate part is that it describes emotions in great detail, yet fails to evoke any in the process. Although it is not completely flawless in its efforts, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is the most original and innovative independent film of the year.