Director: Don Hertzfeldt
Release Date: August 24, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕

t's Such a Beautiful Day © Don Hertzfeldt‘It’s such a Beautiful Day’ tells about Bill, a man with some kind of terminal disease, which affects his memory. The film uses an episodic, non-linear narrative, and at times feels as confused as the protagonist’s mind.

Hertzfeldt uses some unconventional ways to tell his story. He himself tells us the story in a dry, matter-of-factly, slightly worrying voice over, which makes the sometimes poignant episodes even more gripping. The images themselves are very simple: the people in the film are no more than stick figures. But because of Hertzfeldt’s perfect sense of timing, these simple images are richer than many more elaborately drawn animation films. The stick figure images are interchanged with 8mm-film-like live action fragments of details in streets, trees, the sea etc. Hertzfeldt’s basic screen is black, in which often more than one of his images is projected. This technique harks back to the silent era, and gives his film a timeless look.

Hertzfeldt uses all these techniques to tell a fragmented, associative narrative, which is rich in detailed observations on daily life. The scenes motivate the viewer to try to connect the presented information into an overall story. The scenes are often comical, even hilarious, with Bill watching a man with a leaf blower as a particular highlight. As often, however, the scenes are moving and very emotional. Throughout the feature the deterioration of Bill’s mind becomes clearly visible, and when he decides to take a walk around the block, the result is as funny as it is painful. The most beautiful part, however, is when Bill celebrates life, paying attention to details that normally go unnoticed. The film’s finale, too, is no less than glorious.

‘It’s such a Beautiful Day’ is a compilation of three short films released earlier: ‘Everything will be OK’ (2006), ‘I Am So Proud of You’ (2008), and ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’ (2012). To compile these into one feature is a very logical step. In fact, watching them together as one continuous story actually makes much more sense. The result is one of the most original feature films ever made, and also one of the most moving. An impressive effort by any standard, and especially when considering that this is a one-man-project.

Watch the trailer of ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’ and tell me what you think: