Nine minute Netflix short film ‘Canvas’ rounds out 2020 with an uplifting story.


Source: Netflix

A young girl helps her grandfather find the inspiration he lost to paint since his wife had past in the new Netflix short ‘Canvas.’

A lonely grandfather, an unfinished painting, and one curious granddaughter set the scene for a heartwarming tale of artistic salvation. Dialogue-free and animated, the new Netflix short “Canvas” offers just what people need after 2020: an uplifting story of an elderly artist who overcomes hardship to find the inspiration to paint again — all in just nine minutes.
Since his wife died, an artistically-minded grandfather lives in despair, unable to paint as he grieves the loss of his wife. Day after day, he avoids a dark, forbidden room that holds his memory of her and all of her belongings. One day his young granddaughter comes to visit and loses her crayon in the dark behind the bedroom door. Curious, she investigates the room and finds an easel with an unfinished painting of a woman, presumably her grandmother.
When the grandfather rolls into the room in his wheelchair, he is furious at first, but a deep nostalgia takes hold of him when he sees the life captured on the unfinished canvas. The grandfather is swept up on an inner journey, where he emotionally reunites with his wife and remembers the joy that his art brings to himself and to his family.
Pixar animator Frank Abbey III’s most recent creation explores the depth of the grieving process in the nine-minute movie. With detailed illustrations and a fitting soundtrack score by Jermaine Stegall, “Canvas” seamlessly brings the various character’s thoughts and emotions to life without using a single word.
Especially heartening is the grandfather character. Some may call it cliché, but with 2020 being a year of tribulation and reflection, the grandfather’s story is relatable to many of us.
In the short film, he loses his wife, someone very close to him, just as our society has lost countless loved ones this year. Furthermore, he struggles to find the motivation and the courage to pick up his paintbrush again. Today, this is much like the health care workers, artists, self-searchers, and many others who feel unmotivated and discouraged from pushing forward during these harsh and unforgiving times.
The young granddaughter is also easy to sympathize with. Her naïveté and energy represent the boundless curiosity that we’ve all at some point strived to obtain and wish for more.
Accompanying the characters is a soundtrack that deftly captures each facial emotion and action with a particular choice of music. While the lack of speech makes it difficult to completely understand what the characters are feeling, the soundtrack points out changes in mood and assists the plot through musical devices, making the story easier to understand.
Though the animated short was only nine minutes, watching “Canvas” was uplifting and satisfying, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who feels they need the inspiration to continue pushing forward in 2021.