documentary theater has done itself proud this year by bringing us an animated film unlike maybe anything we've seen (anything TrustMovies has seen, at least).
CONSUMING SPIRITS might bring to mind Scrooge & Marley, were the spirits involved not mostly alcoholic. (I wouldn't be surprised if Charles Dickens' spirit didn't cotton to this odd film, once he got used to the freedom artists possess these days.) So personal and deeply-felt is the movie that you'll likely wince in near-recognition of all the sadness, regret and spent lives on view. Yet the film contains nary a jerked tear. You'll more likely laugh at the pile-up of neuroses on display by the artist, Chris Sullivan, shown at right, who wrote, directed, produced the film and did the cinematography, editing, sound and much of the animation. (This is not, however, a one-man show: At the end credits, plenty of other people are credited & thanked.)
Modern-day Appalachian small-town life seems to be the setting here, and the main characters -- Earl Gray (above), Gentian Violet (below) and Victor Blue (at left, further below) -- sport semi-Dickensian names and toss around interesting philosophies. Gentian's (Jenny's) elderly mom, who lives with her and has Alzheimer's, offers this bit of delectable dinner conversation: "Little Jenny keeps her muffin clean with a vinegar wash."
songs here are used sparingly but beautifully and effectively.)
Pixar as one can get, though it does appear a "fun" place to spend some time. And however this movie came about, as an audience member I can only say it was worth it.
Film Forum. Elsewhere? Can't say, but something this unusual and worthwhile will be around for a long time to come.