Consuming Spirits (2012)

Nancy Andrews, Chris Sullivan, Judith Rafael, Mary Lou Zelazny, Chris Harris, Robert Levy,
Consuming Spirits 16mm to HD, is an Independent feature animation, chronicling the lives of three characters who live in a rust belt town called Magguson, and work at its local newspaper The Daily Suggester. They are: Gentian Violet
  • 7.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
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  • 2018-09-07 Added:
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8 / 10

Amazing - if you can get through it.

I can't give this a proper review as it's been about 5 years since I've seen it (once), and as far as I know it is unobtainium on home video. The film (best as I can recall) bounces around through a bunch of seemingly unrelated quirky scenes and characters, with perhaps for some, only it's wonderfully bizarre animation to keep you interested. Just about the time you wonder where the hell this mess is all going, and if you should stick with it, things start coming together in amazing ways. It's a rich piece of storytelling. While watching I had the feeling I'd experienced this style before. Afterwards during Q&A, Chris Sullivan gave a shout-out to Joe Frank in the audience - that's when it hit me how much this film is like a Joe Frank radio play.

Anyway, this is "not for everybody" but if you like well crafted stories in the style of of a Joe Frank production, you should give this a shot. IF you can find it.

10 / 10


The reviews I've read about this film all mention the astounding depth, scope and variety of its animation, most mention the ugliness of its characters, and most mention the "humanness" of the story. I've not yet seen a single mention of Chris Sullivan's clear, clean and carefully crafted sound track. And - even more troubling to me - I've not seen a single mention of the screenplay. I don't recall hearing a single swear word in this film. Even Ida's dementia-fueled "inappropriate statements" about sex and female sexual anatomy are worthy of a Catholic "how to" treatise for straight couples seeking divine sanction for their upcoming nuptials. Squeaky clean. But to me, a faithful fan of David Milch's poetic and sonorous soliloquies penned for his deeply intelligent and vocally expressive "Deadwood" characters, some of the most beautiful and enjoyable aspects of "Consuming Spirits" are the sublime verbal tangents that Earl Gray takes on his radio program. Of course these are a small portion of the film - but worthy of attention, mention and emulation.

8 / 10

One of the most ambitious animated films ever

You for sure will feel the 2+ hour runtime but I assure you every scene is necessary. This goes from being an impressive blend of seemingly unrelated moments to you frantically trying to connect it all by the end. The characters may be presented as grotesque puppets or just chicken scratches on smudged paper, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's an unpretty film to look at. They're animated so well and the characters/story is so fascinating you just want to hang out in this Halloween-ish looking world. Highly recommend and hope this director gets to make another film that hopefully won't take another 15 years to complete.