Released: February 8, 2013
Reviewed By: Nikki Baughan
Subtitled The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman this barmy biopic is narrated by Chapman himself, who recorded excerpts from his not-entirely-true memoirs before his death from cancer in 1989. It’s a breathless romp through his life, as imagined by several animation studios from across the globe, who each take a segment.
The result is a melange of different styles, from stop motion to CGI, line drawing to Claymation, which tell Chapman’s story through childhood and a difficult adolescence as a young gay man, to finding fame as one sixth of Monty Python. As befits Chapman’s character, the story also varies in tone; some sequences are laugh out loud funny—including a memorable tea party with the Royal Family—while some are altogether darker, hinting at the demons (most notably alcohol) that plagued Chapman as an adult.
And while the film could be accused of glossing over the more difficult areas of Chapman’s life, such as his often tumultuous relationship with fellow Pythons, it is a fittingly madcap tribute to a comedic talent beloved by many, and a man so highly regarded by those whose lives he touched. This is further highlighted by John Cleese’s moving eulogy, filmed at Chapman’s funeral, which caps the film perfectly.
You can read our exclusive interview with A Liar’s Autobiography animation producer Justin Weyers here.