First things first. I’m pretty sure the child in this short film is the cutest kid I’ve ever seen in an animated film. Just the way he moves, how curious he is about the world. Everything about this character made my heart melt. But the emotional core of Float is the father. That’s the character I’ll still be thinking about days from now.
As I’ve said before, I’m not a parent. That being said, I am very familiar with the experience of wanting to protect a child that you love from the world. Especially if that child is different in some way. You just want to wrap them up in a protective bubble that will keep all the hurt at bay, but you can’t. Despite how much you may want to. That’s the lesson that the father in Float has to learn, as difficult as it may be.
I say difficult, because from the very first frame of this film, the love that this father has for his son is radiant. It’s in every look, every gesture. This is a man who loves his child with every fibre of his being. And when he discovers that his child is different in a way that leaves him vulnerable to the harm that people can do to those who are different, his natural instinct is to protect his child. Because of course it is. That’s what parents do. Unfortunately, protecting his son means hiding his son from the world, and as the film makes very clear, that takes a toll. When Float skips ahead several years, the weariness of protecting his child is palpable. The father is exhausted from all the worry and all the fear, and eventually, he gets pushed to his breaking point with a devastating result.
Like so many other Pixar films, Float exists in a world where the fantastical is possible, but the story is very much grounded in reality. And once again, a six minute film managed to completely sock me in the stomach with feelings. They were happy feelings by the end, but I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed at the emotional journeys these short films manage to take. At this point, I have a couple more SparkShorts to explore, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that they will all make me cry.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!