Harvie Krumpet is a twenty minute claymation biography of the title character. It’s a whimsical little tale that’s fun for the viewer, and I’m sure it was fun to make.
It’s not uproariously funny, but it’s consistently witty and clever throughout, both visually and narratively.
The question is whether there’s anything to it besides just an enjoyable, lighthearted look at the life of some random nebbish. For a time I was wondering what it was building to, what event all this information about his life was a set up for, but it pretty much went on and on in the same vein.
But I think there is a little more to it. I don’t know that there’s one specific overall point the film is trying to get across, but to me it’s kind of a reminder that every life is special in its own way.
Harvie is extraordinary in plenty of comical, insignificant and wholly unlikely ways, but otherwise he is decidedly ordinary. Hence the feeling that surely the film is leading to something else, that all this mundane stuff must be preliminary to something more worthy of telling a story about.
But isn’t every life—even the most ordinary life—special and precious in its own way? Harvie hurts, he has imperfect relationships with imperfect family members, he works, he has joys, he’s buffeted about by worldwide events beyond his control, he suffers from physical and mental disabilities, he’s lonely, he has moments of liberating non-conformity. Why is that only good enough to be a prelude and not a story? Would these things somehow become important and interesting if he were rich and famous, but they’re meaningless now?
Harvie’s basic goodness in adopting a daughter, and the love and connection he experiences with her, are wondrous regardless of how commonplace they might or might not be. He is extraordinary. Because everyone is. That’s what the film says to me, and I think it’s a good message.
It’s a message that ties in with why I have a passion for doing personal history films. I’m sure it would be rewarding and worthwhile to do in depth interviews and make a film with famous people like Barack Obama, or Brett Favre, or Matt Damon or whomever, but I also think it would be rewarding and worthwhile to do the same with someone picked at random out of the phone book.
Someone like Harvie.