Head Over Heels: Our review of the Oscar-nominated animated short

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Head Over Heels is an American animated short directed by Timothy Reckart and produced by Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly. It is currently in the running for Best Animated Short at the 2013 Academy Awards alongside Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, The Longest Daycare, and Paperman. 

Head Over Heels is a stop-motion animated short with a visual style that is very reminiscent of Wallace & Gromit, which I will admit is not my usual cup of tea–still it did not detract from the short once it started to pick up. In brief, Head Over Heels is a look into the married lives of elderly couple Walter and Madge, who have been married for years and have been living in parallel, separate worlds. It is monotonous and fairly unhappy, that is until Walter rediscovers an old memento of Madge’s, and in an effort to reignite the romance that has been lost, he fixes and attempts to return the memento to her. Unfortunately things go wrong, and the marriage and quiet equilibrium is thrown off balance. They are forced to confront what their relationship has become, and in the end must find a solution that solves the original problem.

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The story itself is simple and sweet, and I liked the characters and visual metaphors. It was interesting that the short chose to visually illuminate the relationship by having Walter living on the ground and Madge on the ceiling. A lot of the story is told through the visual cues that happen to the house and how they interact with the house as opposed to each other. The storyline was touching and easy to follow. While it’s simplistic, it was very emotionally deep and thought provoking.

Head Over Heels

There were some minor flaws to the overall short. I found Madge to be a bit unlikable though in the end she redeems herself, and sometimes the story got a little confusing by what it was trying to get across. The resolution felt a bit rushed and didn’t have as much impact as I was hoping for–especially since I knew where it was building up to. It also felt a little bit heavy to watch, lacking the joy and easy flowing narration that I liked in Paperman, and that can be found in most of the PIxar animated shorts as well.

I liked the story and I liked the visual idea and metaphor of marriage, but I had some issues with the execution of the short. Still it is definitely worth checking out.

Grade: B

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And for a limited time, you can check out the full short online. See below.

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