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The Best Movie You’ve Never Seen Is Back

It’s Such A Beautiful Day from experimental animation director Don Hertzfeldt is one of the most impactful and impressive films I have ever seen. With the film returning the theaters twelve years later, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss why I love this film and feel more people should seek it out. 

Scene from "It's Such A Beautiful Day
(Image: Don Hertzfeldt)

How do you review the unreviewable? How can you summarize something so important to you and so impactful in just a thousand words?” ~ Me.

(I said that while trying to write this review.)

An Introduction (Where The Author Gets Pompous)

In this writer’s opinion, movies are the most consistently entertaining and most immersive form of media there is. I take great comfort in movies, and it’s an art form that I really hope I can continue to be involved in as an adult, hopefully with a job in the field. 

Film as a medium has a wide range. On one end, you have movies that exist for the sole purpose of being eye candy- they can be fun to watch in the moment, but offer nothing of substance to digest after it’s done. All flash, no style, in other words.

Then there are some films where watching it is a truly impactful experience.. The feeling of watching a favorite movie for the first time. The feeling of rediscovering an old childhood favorite. The feeling of appreciating a well regarded classic, and being able to put your own unique spin on it. It’s one of these that I’m writing about now. 

Get To The Point!

Scene from "it's Such A Beautiful Day"
Scene from “It’s Such A Beautiful Day.” Credit: Don Hertzfeldt

It’s Such A Beautiful Day from experimental animation director Don Hertzfeldt is one of the most impactful and impressive films I have ever seen. With the film returning the theaters twelve years later, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss why I love this film and feel more people should seek it out. 

On May 31st, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Alamo Drafthouse in Manhattan, to attend a screening of this movie, along with Hertzfeldts newest film, ME. I was bursting with excitement. I never had expected to see any of his works on the big screen, much less one this impressive and emotional.

It was an amazing experience, as it always is, but it got me thinking. What is it about this movie, with a literal stick figure as a protagonist, that opens me up and brings me to tears? Why does this movie make me feel so much in such a short span of time?

The Genius of Don Hertzfeldt

Scene from "It's Such A Beautiful Day."
Scene from “It’s Such A Beautiful Day.” Credit: Don Hertzfeldt

One of the methods Hertzfeldt uses is that simple animation style. By utilizing simple drawings, Hertzfeldt is able to depict certain situations so well, I’d assume the only way to top it would be to experience it yourself. He shows the horrors of having a seizure in a way I have never seen topped or replicated. He shows the muddled confusion of waking up in an unfamiliar place. He shows the maddening blurriness of going under for anesthesia. And he does it so well. 

Hertzfeldt’s writing also places the emphasis on the mundane. Wearing a fuzzy sweater, watching the distant lights of cars on the highway, taking a bus in the rain… all momentary parts of life that most films would speed past. Instead, It’s Such A Beautiful Day places the focus on them. There’s no grand story here- just one man trying to appreciate life amidst a life changing medical emergency.

That’s not to say that the movie isn’t exciting- things are constantly happening throughout the whole runtime, and you will be thoroughly enraptured by our protagonist, Bill’s, struggles. The warm, inviting voice of the narrator, voiced by Hertzfeldt himself, welcomes you into the world you’ll be spending the next hour in. He’s never dull or drab or disconnected from the audience. This disembodied voice is our guiding light through the insanity of Bill’s mental state.  

Sweet Emotion

Scene from "It's Such A Beautiful Day."
Scene from “It’s Such A Beautiful Day.” Credit: Don Hertzfeldt

Really, though, as much as the technical aspects of the film are impressive, it’s one of my favorite movies because of how it made me feel. The movie expresses a wide field of emotions, from dry humor to heartbreakingly depressing.  It’s a movie that made me feel more appreciative of my life and the people around me. It made me realize that I need to appreciate the things around me more. 

I love this movie because of what I took away from it. 

It’s Such A Beautiful Day is a movie that I can understand, but it does not work for a lot of people, and I get it. I really do. For as calming and comforting as I find it, parts of it can be incredibly weird and uncomfortable. It’s not something that necessarily will have universal appeal. What I would ask, however, is that, if you’ve read this far, you give this magical film a try. It’s barely one hour in length, so if you are able to give up a tiny part of your day, I promise you won’t regret it.

Hertzfeldt’s New Movie

The showing of It’s Such A Beautiful Day was paired with Hertzfeldts new short film, ME, a music-heavy film with no dialogue that embraces the absurd nature of his previous works. It’s a lot more abstract than his feature film if you can believe it. To my untrained eye, it looks like he’s stepped into the world of digital 2D animation this time as well. I definitely need to watch this one a few more times for it to really sink in, though. I find myself a little confused by what Hertzfeldt is trying to say with ME. Technology bad? Be there for your family? Don’t let the sentient eye float into space or else you’ll create a giant black hole? All of the above? Maybe.

Whatever it’s about, it’s a thrilling watch. Also, it’s probably the only film you’ll see this year with a living brain stem. That sings opera. You won’t get any context for that from me, so don’t even ask. I also can’t even respond if you DID ask.

Final Thoughts

Hertzfeldt is one of the most creative people working in the film and animation fields today. The way he tells his stories, through relatable writing, experimental editing, and simplistic yet beautiful animation, is unlike anything I’ve seen from anybody else. He has helped my life, and I hope his films can improve yours too.

It’s Such A Beautiful Day, paired with ME, is currently playing in limited theaters worldwide, as well as being available to rent on its own on Vimeo. If you are interested in other movie discussion, this article about this summers blockbuster’s will be right up your alley!

Written By

Danny Krastek is an award winning writer, director, on air DJ and film critic attending college at Montclair State University.

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