IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY (2012, Don Hertzfeldt): 8/10
For those who don’t know, this is a 60-minute “feature” made up of a trilogy of animated shorts produced over the last 6 years by animator Hertzfeldt. It surrounds the life of Bill, an Everyman in San Francisco diagnosed with brain cancer — an event that causes him to reevaulate life, death, and the meaning of existence. The power of this examination comes in the form of Hertzfeldt’s narration, which is a dry reporting of facts that, in their journalistic simplicity, manage to editorialize by the nature of their juxtaposition and information. We learn of the bullshit slogan on the t-shirt of a passerby; Bill’s encounter with a hardware store clerk (with a skin condition) who helps Bill attain a battery for his wall clock; and “That hand keeps dropping things.”
The accumulation of these facts (told to us in a Wes Anderson-style monotone), without dialogue or dressing, serves up an existentialist thesis much like Charlie Kaufman’s masterpiece SYNECDOCHE, N.Y. In this small, intimate story of a man’s daily struggle in modern urban society, themes are as big and profound as anything gets — the universe, life and death, mortality and immortality, dreams and reality, memories and imaginations. It will probably take another viewing or two to get the most out of it, but this is a pretty compelling watch. Crudely poetic, darkly funny, and melancholy throughout.