I went into this film believing myself to be about to witness an interesting a thought-provoking semi-animated, art-house dissection of a relationship. What I instead got was one and half hours of arrogant, self- indulgent ‘interesting’ camera shots with so little emotional depth that it made Mean Girls look like The Seventh Seal. Before the opening credits had even finished rolling I had lost interest and by a minute in I had a headache due to all the edgy shaky camera work. Terrance Nance, (director, writer, actor and subject) may have successfully experimented with standard narrative structure and content, but failed to create a piece which was remotely engaging, or indeed anything which was not therefore to inflate what already seems to be an overly large ego.
An Oversimplification of her Beauty loosely tells the story of Terence Nance’s attempt to turn a platonic relationship into a romantic one. He uses a short story entitled ‘How Would You Feel’ inter-cut with the main feature and reaches into his past failed relationships, presumably to bulk out what is a very stretched tale. It uses different narrative devices including animation, and semi-documentary footage to tell its story, clearly attempting at something bold. True, the animation at times looked very nice, despite confusion about what it was depicting. But overall the continual changing of styles and indeed story meant that there was never enough focus in one area for us to become attached to. It merely left me confused and disinterested.
This film could have been trying to say something real, but whatever that was, it was never made clear to me. In the end it was a pretentious, self-indulgent mirage of a film. Just naming a list of ‘emotions’ in their semantic form will not make me feel them, and despite the very long list, they failed to read out the one which summed up my watching of this film; bored.