A self-loathing, alcoholic writer attempts to repair his damaged relationships with his daughter and her mother while combating sex addiction, a budding drug problem, and the seeming inability to avoid making bad decisions.
Tim Minchin and his wife arrive at a dinner party in a North London flat hosted by a doctor friend and his actress wife. The fifth guest is a new-age advocate of all things 'alternative', as Tim soon discovers, and he can't help but challenge her attacks on science and rationalism. As manners and etiquette go out of the window, Storm and Tim do verbal battle on subjects such as psychics, medicine, religion and the meaning of life. Written by
The only "real doctor" associated with the animated short is the musician and sound engineer Dr Milton Mermikides - who was brought to the team not only for his musical talents, but because he was also a leukaemia survivor. Due to the tight movie release schedule, both he and his wife Bridget's surnames were mis-spelt in the film credits as 'Mermikedes'... much to their chargrin. See more »
Although I am not a big fan of Tim Minchin, when he is at his best he can be very funny and clever and I do recall seeing this enjoyable and barbed bit of beat poetry in one of his shows before. Here we have it made into an animated short film. The narrative sees Tim at a dinner party with some friends and a guest he doesn't know; the girl seems to have a fairy tattoo on her lower back and a new-age name, but he resists the urge to pigeonhole her just on this. However, when she starts stating that nobody can really know anything and that modern medicine is just a big ruse by the capitalists in control to addict us to pointless drugs rather than using alternative medicines, he finds it increasingly hard to bite his tongue.
The main appeal here is the audio delight of Minchin's poem which is both smart but also funny. It deals with a sort of person who we all know the type who lives in the absolute extreme of opinion, it can be about many things but generally they will be people as inflexible in their opinions as they are extreme. In this example it is a new aged type who finds it easier to believe in homoeopathy than in the power of pills prescribed by a doctor; again we all know this type of person and they do tend to be as frustratingly clichéd as Storm is shown to be here. I once worked with a white woman with dreads who was a vegan and cycled everywhere and believed that any motorist who was involved in a RTA that ended with a cyclist dying should be found guilty of murder no matter what the circumstances and this was one of the less extreme of her stances. Anyway, across the course of 8 minutes, Tim reaches the point he cannot let things go unanswered anymore and decides to burst her bubble of pomposity with a defence of science and fact.
Lyrically it is very smart and very funny, although I knew this already. What I wondered though was whether the translation into an animated experience would add much and it does. Although it was fun when he performed it live, it is added to by the animation which flows between characters, words on screen and the visualization of the points being made. It looks cartoony but fun and it made it enjoyable to watch. For sure if your views on life lean heavily towards alternative treatments, alternative religion and "reject the majority opinion on everything" then you'll hate it but only because you are the target and the short is hitting the bullseye pretty squarely in a way that is smart and funny.
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