SELECTED REVIEWS FOR CHAPTER ONE, EVERYTHING WILL BE OK
- "...genius...Hertzfeldt's offering, Everything Will Be OK, takes the prize... In his trademark 2-D animation, a stick figure enacts quotidian rituals - fruit buying, commuting - with a growing sense of ennui, existential angst, and eventually insanity. It's hellish - and moving, too."
Nina Maclaughlin, Boston Phoenix
"The highlight of the show was Hertzfeldt's Everything Will Be OK, which packs more originality and voice into its 17 minutes than a lot of feature-length films...
It blends Hertzfeldt's signature bare-bones imagery with a fantasy-tinged bleakness to stunning effect."
Margaret Lyons, Time Out Chicago
- "...the story, music, figures, and optical effects have been brought into perfect alignment... for a long time afterward, a sense of wonder for everyday life lingers."
J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
- "...darkly original..."
Rebecca Winters Keegan, TIME magazine
"...nothing else moved me like Everything Will Be OK... By blending in fuzzy and fragmented real-world photography and overlapping sound and a variety of fitting music into the mix, we really feel Bill's disorientation as he slips into his surreal world of psychosis. With Hertzfeldt providing a matter-of-fact voiceover narration to the action, we are never tugged in any manipulative ways. But Everything Will Be OK still hits with a surprising depth of emotion. Even with stick figures blinking on the screen instead of real people, this is one of the more realistic representations of a mental breakdown you'll see."
Jim Walker, INtake Weekly
"...Hertzfeldt's latest masterpiece... cracks hilarious jokes while looking squarely at the meaninglessness of everyday life. It's like seeing a character from a Raymond Carver short story trapped in a "Far Side" cartoon... Hertzfeldt pushes the art form and its audience into some unexpectedly serious places."
Curt Holman, Creative Loafing Atlanta
- "...maybe the single best short... As you're marveling at its weird brilliance, take a minute to appreciate the humble ingredients: solid writing, a few low-tech camera effects and a bunch of stick figures on white paper."
Melissa Starker, Columbus Alive
"...simply one of the finest shorts produced over the past few years, be it animated or not, full stop... essential viewing."
- "...a sort of masterpiece... alternates between dream-like day-to-day life and hallucinogenic nightmare, scored at some point to Bizet. This is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly taken to paranoid extremes. It's wild, fun, and unexpected, not to mention a perfect demonstration of the lollapalooza that moviemaking - short and otherwise - can be."
Wesley Morris, the Boston Globe
SELECTED REVIEWS FOR CHAPTER TWO, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU
"....a f*cking masterpiece. I can't even begin to articulate my thoughts about the film but it just gave me shivers and I wasn't able to attend the party after the screening. Just had to be alone. It had this effect on a number of other people here too.... stunning, beautiful, tragic, absurd work."
Chris Robinson, artistic director Ottawa International Animation Festival
- "A stunning gut-punch of a short film.... Proud is the latest mortality play from Oscar-nominated director Don Hertzfeldt, and it lives up to its pedigree, boldly taking on concepts like family, pain and loss. An intermission might be necessary after this program so audiences can step outside and catch their breath. It's that effective."
"All of the animators featured in this year's festival are dedicated artists who are intimately involved with their craft, but Hertzfeldt is a true auteur whose stick figure characters are a reminder of the heart and artistry that can be achieved with pencil, paper and an appreciation for the basic tools and methods of the animator."
Brett Rogers, San Jose Examiner
"An extraordinary meditation on life, childhood, aging, futility and the search for meaning. Fusing the work of artists like Guy Maddin, David Lynch and Crispin Glover, animator Don Hertzfeldt has created a masterwork. Watching this twenty-two minute life story of stick-figure, Bill, is to see someone in complete control of their medium. It's hysterically funny, whimsical, macabre, horrifying, sentimental, mawkish, chilling, insightful and sublime - all at the same moment. Make the time to see this picture - if you can't see it at the Fest then put it on your queue, your download in-box, your phone insta-list - whatever, whatever you use to view films - make a note and see it."
Jett Loe, the Film Talk
- "...dazzlingly mixes stick-figure animation with live-action footage, compresses one sad sack's whole life and family history into a handful of minutes. Events are narrated in non sequiturs as dryly funny as the drawings... the overall effect is as ecstatic as the bars of Wagner, which fill its final minute."
FX Feeny, LA Weekly
- "Hertzfeldt's work channels a lot of the aspirations and anxieties of us all...
I Am So Proud Of You made me cry. It's not just slapstick humour. I'm sure a lot of it is about psychological abuse. He doesn't use digital technology; everything you see in a Don Hertzfeldt film has been scribbled down on a piece of paper and shot directly on to film. The rostrum camera he uses allegedly shot all the Peanuts films, and there is a kind of synchronicity with Peanuts and Don's work. It's American childhood. His work is a subversion of that American ideal."
Ian Gardner, Edinburgh International Film Festival
- "...continues the independent animator's expanding technique, which matches his minimalistic stick figure characters with gorgeous photographic imagery and filters that through the look and feel of silent film. He's a tragic comedian with lovable streak of dark absurdity - like all great animators in the history of the medium."
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
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