Today: February 21, 2024

A Liar’s Autobiography

As the title suggests, A Liar’s Autobiography is not a 100% accurate depiction of the life and times of late great Graham Chapman.

As
the title suggests, A Liar’s Autobiography is not a 100% accurate depiction of
the life and times of late great Graham Chapman.

Based on his own autobiography of the same title, this lovingly made animated
treat is crafted with the same glee as the iconic Monty Python series.

Whilst his colourful life is worthy of a traditional
bio-pic, it’s perhaps more fitting that his (sort of) true life story is
presented in a more whimsical fashion. Terry
Gilliam
’s outlandish animation has played a pivotal part in the surreal
nature of the classic TV series, so it feels only right that this was the
chosen format. Each chapter of the film is animated by a different studio,
giving a unique almost dreamlike feel to the movie, it’s as though we are
peeking into the minds of these British comedy legends.

Over the course of 85 minutes we are treated to a
visually stunning whistle-stop tour of Chapman’s life; his first memories as a
baby, his acceptance of his sexuality, annual holidays to Scarborough,
attending Cambridge University where he met fellow Pythons John Cleese and Eric Idle.
Even Chapman’s own funeral is featured, lifelong fans will remember the moving
but fitting eulogy read by John Cleese. In true Python form, his five friends
gave him a fitting send off; through the jokes and reminiscing what was
abundantly clear was how much they missed their friend.

There’s a selection of vocal cameos from Stephen Fry, Tom Hollander and Cameron Diaz who pops up as Sigmund Freud. Sadly, Eric Idle is the
only Python not to lend his voice to the film and it’s a shame he isn’t a part
of what could be the last thing they do as a collective but taking their own
advice we should “look on the bright side” and cherish the masterpiece on
offer.

Shortly after the autobiography was published in 1980,
Graham Chapman made a recording of the book and its used throughout the film
allowing him to narrate from beyond the grave. Ever the raconteur and
ambassador for “mindless good taste,” Chapman would certainly approve of its
inclusion and he’d get a kick out of not letting the small matter of being dead
stop him from appearing.

Throughout the varied animations there’s a feeling of
the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine. If you remember the short-lived cult
BBC series Monkey Dust, you will
appreciate the shifting styles all the more. Where many films add 3D on as an
afterthought, this is one of the few movies that is best enjoyed in the third
dimension. The animation pops out of the screen, making the flights of fancy
all the more surreal.

By far one of the best uses of 3D in recent memory,
using a style of animation seldom seen on the big screen, A Liar’s Autobiography is nothing short of a triumph and hardcore
fans will adore the style, wit and in-jokes.

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