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No lying, Chapman film is truly impressive

Credit: A Liarís Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Pythonís Graham Chapman

Remington Bockwinkel | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 18th, 2013

A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (2012)

If there is one thing I can't stand, it is lying. So when I initially heard of the film A Liar's Autobiography, I was none to keen to see it. However, once I learned that the subject of the film was a true comedy legend, I changed my tune.

The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot. I'm sure at some point Larry The Cable Guy and Dane Cook have been referred to as comedy legends in a non-sarcastic manner by someone at some point. Both of those statements are a matter of some conjecture. On the other hand, Graham Chapman, the focus of this particular film certainly has earned that title. As one of the members of the brilliant Monty Python comedy troupe, Chapman continues to be a tremendous influence on comedians even to this day.

In 1980, Chapman wrote A Liar's Autobiography, Volume VI, which featured a fictionalized look at his already very interesting life. Before Chapman passed away in 1989, he recorded himself reading the book. Twenty-three years later, Chapman's voice is used along with some terrific animation to tell the tale of a truly fascinating man.

A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman is not only one of the longest titled movies in history, but it is also one of the most visually appealing. Fourteen different animation houses were used, each utilizing a different style of animation to highlight a different chapter in Chapman's life. How accurate any of these chapters are is up for debate.

What is known about Chapman is that he was very intelligent (he studied medicine at the University of Cambridge), he was very fond of alcohol, and he slept around a lot, sometimes with women, but he preferred men. In fact, Graham was one of the first celebrities to publicly come out. All of this is covered in the film, but is purposely exaggerated.

That Graham's own voice was able to be used to narrate this film is a big plus, as is the participation of his Monty Python compatriots. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin all took part in the project, although Eric Idle was sadly absent. Also listen for a special appearance by Cameron Diaz as Sigmund Freud.

A Liar's Autobiography is a treat for fans of British comedy in particular, but even if you don't count yourself in that group, you will likely still be very impressed by the film's visual elements. The film arrived February 12 on home video, and also features a 45- minute documentary titled “Anatomy of a Liar,” which features a behind-the-scenes look at the production, words from Python members, and an explanation about what exactly was going on during some of the more surreal moments of the story.

Rating: 4 out of 5
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