Never before has hand drawn animation been so raw, so artsy, so bad. It is minimalist to the extreme – one supposes this is a conscious effort to draw the focus to what is more important than flashy spectacle; than fireworks. The story matters more. And it is cleverly and at times beautifully told.
It’s Such A Beautiful Day is sometimes incredibly morose, other times terrifyingly traumatic. This is the story of Bill as he struggles to survive day after day with severe mental illness. There are moments of clarity in this film, which mirror the insecurities, fears and neuroses of many of us.
The story is told in a pretty, yet simplistic stick figure opera – which is narrated in third person perspective. The narration is funny, pointless at times, but most often it tells us who Bill is, why he is and how he is.
The narration voiceover has a deadpan voice, but a sadistic sense of humour. Bill’s neuroses are evenly matched with the style of this film – disjointed, insane, absurd, disgusting, bloody and depressing. The precise choices of details in the narration and the stream of consciousness style, the ongoing rhythmic beats and rants, are pure poetry.
Though all people are stick figures, the images are creative and at times interestingly grotesque. Bill’s descent into madness is the most realistic depiction I have witnessed on film. Less glamourous than a trip like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Bill faces and endures the prospect of death – he faces the dismantling of his life. And then he discovers that he is not dying. This entire time being from the perspective of a drug-addled, certifiably insane and pure deceitful point of view character.
Even the endless rain is beautiful. There are other characters in this film – Bill’s ex-girlfriend, his mother, his neighbours. But most of the film focuses tightly on Bill – and vaguely on the people he meets at the bus stop (however most of the time, these people are demonic figures.)
Death hits suddenly. Time is not linear in this story.
Bill tries to pick his life off the floor, and piece it back together. His girlfriend tells him it’s over. Bill is a bit of a pushover. He is self-conscious, insecure and neurotic. But this is only the beginning of his problems. His grandmother as he remembers her, is funny and crazy.
This film is a serious drama, a tragic story about the failure of medicine to save the nut job from his downward spiral into crazy and death. But it’s a really funny story as well – with sparks of miserable humour and hope.
Start watching it and Bill’s world sucks you in and consumes your attention. I absolutely empathise with this crazy character and his ambitions, his wasted opportunities, his lost life. Kind of reminds me of a minimalist cartoon version of 2001: a space oddysey. Every complicated emotion in life is finely expressed in this style, in this story.