A fun and heartwarming Netflix original

Canvas takes takes you through one grandfather’s uplifting journey


Image by Netflix

Canvas is directed by Frank E. Abney III. His experience in working for Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks shines in this top tier animated short.

Jonathan Jimenez, Staff Reporter

With the holidays coming around, one might be looking for a fun, goofy movie to watch with the whole family. There’s a wide variety to choose from, spanning across many streaming services and TV channels. Recently released on Netflix on December 11 is Canvas, a short, animated film entailing a grandfather and his painting.

This animated short would be perfect for anyone strapped on time because it’s only nine minutes long. According to the film’s description, Canvas is about a wheelchair-bound grandfather who suffers a heartbreaking loss in his life, ruining his passion for painting. He has to find his love for the art again as he copes with his loss.

The film begins with a dream of the grandfather painting a portrait of his wife under a tree before she passed away. This dream is animated to look like the movie is on a canvas sheet of paper, just like the ones the grandfather painted on. I thought that the inclusion of this style was well-done. It only lasts for about ten seconds, but it added a creative touch to the film. Another clever element added was the sound of the grandfather’s alarm clock. When it rang, it almost sounded like a heart monitor beating, which jolted the grandfather awake. He must’ve heard the monitor beeping when his wife was dying, so the sound would be almost traumatizing for him. The film doesn’t say whether it was intended to sound like that or not, but the room left for interpretation was a good inclusion in my opinion.

After getting out of bed in the morning, the grandfather goes outside and goes over to the exact spot he was painting his wife and welcomes his daughter and two grandchildren to his house. Inside, the granddaughter offers a pencil to the grandfather so he could draw, but he denies the offer. No words were said, but the scene clearly displayed the grandfather’s lack of motivation to make art. It’s simple, but it’s effective and conveys the grandfather’s feelings well.

At night, the daughter and grandchildren eventually went home, and the grandfather was left with his thoughts. He spent his time next morning staring at his empty easel, which was in the exact same spot as it was in the dream. After much time, he knocked it over to the ground. This single gesture was enough for the audience to see that the grandfather is going through a lot of grief, as one does when they lose someone close to them. There’s nothing the grandfather could have done to prevent his wife’s death, and now that he was alone, he had to deal with his thoughts.

That same day, the daughter and two grandchildren came back to the grandfather’s house. The granddaughter snooped around the grandfather’s stuff for a while and found the same painting he did of his wife that he dreamed about. The grandfather sees this and is understandably visually upset, snatching the painting from his granddaughter’s hand. He had the painting under a blanket, shielded from anyone’s sight. This seemed to be a coping mechanism so he wouldn’t have to accept his wife’s death. This way of coping is something myself and other people could relate to. Instead of accepting the outcome of an event, one would run away from it. I know I’ve done this myself, so I understood the grandfather’s reaction to his granddaughter finding the painting.

After he saw the painting, the grandfather imagined him and his wife dancing together, which gave him the passion to paint again. He painted his daughter and granddaughter in the same spot he painted his wife, and the film ended. The ending was charming in my opinion, with the grandfather finally getting his passion to paint from his granddaughter. It shows the importance of having a tight knit family to get through a tough situation.Normally, when one thinks of an animated short, they think of Pixar or Disney, but Netflix might be a new contender. People should pay more attention to Netflix’s animated shorts because Canvas could easily be mistaken for a Pixar film, it’s that good. I’d rate the movie a five out of five stars. I enjoyed watching Canvas, it’s short and sweet and bound to warm your heart.