A Liar's Autobiography

"Good"

A Liar's Autobiography Review


Subtitled "The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman", this outrageously colourful animated movie certainly can't be pigeonholed as a documentary or a biopic, even though there are elements of each. The filmmakers use recordings of Chapman reading the book about his life, then hire teams of animators to create a stream-of-consciousness 3D tribute. It's not particularly easy to follow, and the absurdly Pythonesque approach isn't always successful. But the film is such an oddity that fans won't want to miss it.

Whatever it is, this isn't a straightforward retelling of Chapman's life story, although it does loosely fill in the details, with each chapter animated in a distinctly different style. It begins with his rather odd childhood, followed by his years at Cambridge, where he met Cleese, Palin, Gilliam and Jones and formed Monty Python. Their TV sketch show was launched in 1969, an unexpected hit that propelled them to stardom. Along the way, Chapman determines that he's 70 percent gay, and indulges in all the alcohol and sex he could find. He died at age 48 of throat cancer in 1989.

The film is a riotous collection of animation styles, from stop-motion to paper cut-outs. Woven into these segments are TV clips, movie scenes and interviews from the archives, and the surviving Pythons supply the voices along with special guests like Stephen Fry and, yes, Cameron Diaz. It feels oddly rambling, going down random sideroads and indulging in moments that cross lines of taste and propriety. Some segments are sharp and pointed, while others take too long to get to their punchlines. But maybe these are inside jokes we simply don't understand.

Highlights include cleverly intercut scenes from Life of Brian, which starred Chapman in the title role, and a video of Cleese's staggering eulogy at Chapman's funeral. And there's no arguing about the quality and artistry of the animation, as every scene has us scanning the corners for wonderful details. This is experimental filmmaking that requires a lot of attention, and even in the end it's more about the themes than the man himself. It's also about how five friends forever changed the nature of comedy.

Rich Cline



A Liar's Autobiography

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th February 2013

Distributed by: Brainstorm Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 25

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson, Ben Timlett

Producer: Bill Jones, Ben Timlett

Starring: as Himself (voice), as Various (voice), as Various (voice), as Various (voice), as Various (voice), as Seigmund Freud (voice), as Oscar Wilde (voice)

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.