One of the best things about the Oscar-nominated shorts is that they give both animation and non-animation lovers alike exposure to experimental forms of animation. Such is the case with the mature The Bigger Picture, which utilizes both life-size animated paintings and 3D stop-motion objects to tell the story of two brothers who are caring for their elderly mother.
The short originally debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last May and since has taken the film festival circuit by storm. Now, it’s making a big appearance at this year’s Academy Awards, where it hopes to take home the big prize. What I loved about the short is that it really felt like a film that was worthy of an Oscar nomination. It’s notably different from many of the animated shorts one typically sees playing in theaters, which was a huge breath of fresh air and something I really have been craving.
The Bigger Picture is a solemn and serious short about the frailty of life and about those who dedicate their lives caring for the elderly. In this case, it’s two brothers, Richard and Nick, tending to their elderly and deteriorating mother. At first, caring for the mother is a nuisance for Nick and Richard, who have to change their plans and lives to accommodate their mother’s new situation. Over the course of the film, however, we see their attitudes change from mild irritation to deep love and devotion to their mother.
While the story is intriguing, it’s the animation and art form that really steal the show in this short. Director Daisy Jacobs always painted on on a grand scale, but then the idea came to her to take her passion and animate it. Not only are the characters life-size, they also have stop-motion elements, such as arms, body parts, and furniture, that give this short a unique 3D feel. As you watch this short, you can’t help but appreciate the artistry and tedious time and effort that went into making it. (For those that are interested, the film’s website is a great resource of behind-the-scenes information and videos.)
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. The paintings and animation are stunning and captivated my thoughts for hours after watching it. The story is slow paced and mature, focusing on a message that’s thought-provoking and worth telling. I would definitely recommend The Bigger Picture to anyone looking for animation that breaks the mold in all areas. You’re in for a visual delight.
Morgan is an Arizona native who's had a lifelong passion for animation. Her favorite animated films are Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, and The Iron Giant. She earned an MBA in Marketing from Arizona State University and now runs her own business where she coaches and trains entrepreneurs how to launch, grow & scale successful online businesses.