An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
A broken date serves as catalyst for an entrancing journey through the heart and mind of aggressively intelligent filmmaker Terence Nance, turning the camera on himself in this documentary/narrative hybrid. A starry-eyed artist who spirals into self-examination and flagellation sparked by his obsessive, unrequited love for close friend Namik, Nance pulls the viewer into his emotional space via hypothetical scenarios, repeatedly posing the question, “How would you feel?” In fractured essayistic fashion, the filmmaker dissects his past relationships, fantasy life, everyday existence, and the culture at large to better understand himself and the nature of love. With each new perspective, the film takes on a new visual language: vérité realism, dramatic re-creation, tone poetry, and a wild array of animation. Its hyperliterate narration and eclectic visual style lend it the sophistication of a poem or collage, but Nance's work is pure cinema, playing with repetition and changes in tempo, making references to other films, and even to his own experience making this one. An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is wholly unique, peppered throughout with pop-culture references and borrowed music underscoring scenes of achingly real life-making for a film that's both experimental in style and emotionally undeniable.