There are times you wish writer-director-editor Terence Nance's hyper-eclectic dipsy doodle "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty" would be a bit, well, simpler. That said, this big-hearted film's many moving parts ultimately add up to a jaunty, highly unique look at romantic crossed wires and the push-pull of male-female relationships.
The movie toggles between the title work and its predecessor, a 2006 short called "How Would You Feel?" about the would-be romance between Nance and his friend-unrequited love, Namik Minter. (Both characters play themselves, or should we say "are" themselves?) The halves of "Beauty" are sewn together by a wry and grandly written narration (voiced by Nance and others) that wedges in words such as "exegesis" and "coefficient" without sounding a bit arch.
En route, there are vibrant chunks of hand-drawn and stop-motion animation, a purposeful repetition of events that somehow always feels new, recounts of Nance's other fleeting girlfriends, evocative shots of New York City and a smart soundtrack. In some ways, however, the film defies description; be prepared to be dazzled — and maybe a bit dizzy.
Since there's little actual spoken dialogue (the narration and other voiceovers prevail), one must piece together Nance's persona, history and career track. Still, the big-Afro'd artist-filmmaker comes off as quite the creative, intriguing, charismatic guy, someone we'll likely be seeing — and learning — more of very soon.
"An Oversimplification of Her Beauty." No MPAA Rating. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes. At the Downtown Independent, Los Angeles.