in a heartbeat

Love can’t be contained in the animated short In a Heartbeat, a sweet and affecting love story told in four minutes.

It has all the trappings of a story of first love — lovely, funny, and touching — only it’s about a young schoolboy who has a crush on another boy at school. Funded on Kickstarter and developed as a thesis film by two Computer Animation majors at Ringling College of Art + Design, the video has gone viral, accumulating more than 3 million views on YouTube. Turns out, love is universal.

The story is relatively simple: A closeted gay teen named Sherwin admires his crush Jonathan from afar, but finds his heart has something to say in that matter. His rapidly beating heart soon escapes from his body and causes him to confront Jonathan — but his heart ends up getting broken in the process. Despite his humiliation, the two classmates reconcile, and Sherwin’s heart becomes whole again.

Here’s the brief synopsis from the project’s Kickstarter:

“A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.”

The whole film plays out without any dialogue, and is gorgeously animated — the leaves in particular impressed me. The whole short is reminiscent of romantic Disney shorts like 2012’s Paperman, where an errant paper plane leads a man to find a woman with whom he falls in love at first sight, or 2016’s Inner Workings, in which a man struggles to listen to his brain or his heart.

The short film was created by Beth David and Esteban Bravo, and was originally funded on Kickstarter.

It’s a nice film to watch coming off the trailer for Call Me By Your Name, which depicts another tender and sweet gay love story. Hot off the success of last year’s Oscar-winning Moonlight — and earlier with Carol, The Handmaiden, and more — it really is a wonderful time for LGBT cinema and media. I can’t imagine this kind of short being made and receiving such acclaim even five years earlier, and this may be the most triumphant time for LGBT pop culture since Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

While adult cinema can lay claim to the LGBT discourse, I love that it has progressed so far that we can have sweet, innocent animated stories such as these. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before Disney and Pixar take note and produce a feature film with a gay lead character. And no, I’m not counting Le Fou.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: