Review Fix Exclusive 2019 Tribeca Film Festival Coverage: My Mother’s Eyes Review: An Animated Splendor

Writer/director Jenny Wright hits the mark brilliantly in this animated tale about the loss of youth and coping with the loneliness of a child no longer confined to the innocence of youth. The animation, editing, and art style brilliantly evoke the greatness of past humanistic animated attempts such as The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. There is not a single frame of animation nor character progression that legs throughout the journey of this mother struggling with the fact that her youngling has grown up and gone away from the nest. Wright versatility with the human condition is spot on in this short film, with nothing be lost in her sentiments about the difficulties of acceptance and the brutality of the life cycle. One cannot simply feel for the pencil art style of the mother figure, from birth to exodus, and the director hit the emotional mark with every stage of life. Through symbolism and metaphor, Wright manages to dismantle the mythology of life and realign the loss of youth with the emotionality of a child in the eyes of its own mother’s perception. Everything about this four and half minute film is ripe with candor and truth, something that only the greatest of storytellers can achieve. 

Truth Replaces Fantasy

What makes this such a proverbial take on life is the truth embedded in the emotions of its animated counterparts. The close-up shots of the line drawn between mother and child representing the umbilical cord that bounds young to old, the hand-drawn railway that takes away the offspring from its progenitor at the end, all aim to strike at the heart of the human condition. Every frame of art is meant to propel the action forward and push the stages of life forward to the point where the viewer realizes the sadness of maternity when all that is left are the memories of want and usefulness. If anything, Wright’s work strikes every emotional chord in the human soul, taking away from the grandiose fantasy that pervades most animation today and breaks down everything to the basic elements of humane truth. With a cartoonish landscape that is saturated with the sword and sorcery milieu, this film is a breath of fresh air that holds no punches in evoking the great works of past artworks. That single shot, that one breathtaking moment of the mother figure framed within a square illustrated panel crying for her young contains more symbolism and emotion than anything one can think of in a live action film. Such is the brilliance of the animation medium, hence, such is the brilliance of this film.

Composition Meets Reality

Composer Matt Huxley’s work on this film is evocative of the visual style of this breathtaking work. Artistically speaking, the film’s composer rarely misses a beat with his transcendent take on the life cycle. The production values rarely lose its value as the stop motion animation of the pencil illustrated visual motif align harrowingly with Huxley’s music. Everything melds in brilliantly with the beats of the life cycle of this sense of maternal loss. Sound Designer, Ben Goodall, masterfully orchestrates a work of breathtaking sadness as each frame of animation perpetuates the longing for a mother to have her child return to its infancy with intention of reinstating her sense of usefulness. Without a doubt, My Mother’s Eyes tugs at the human chore that binds all with the death of childlike innocence in a way that rarely is seen today. There is not a single flaw in the film, with an audio composition that exacerbates the melancholic tones, to Wright’s writing and art direction. This is a piece of art that needs to be viewed repeatedly to understand what true sadness is, and the metaphors it imbues within the confines of its cell shaded frames are a splendor in and of itself. 

The Verdict

If anyone wants to understand the human psyche and what true depression means than wholeheartedly watch this animated tear jerker. From its ambient composition to the reality of its character’s plight, My Mother’s Eyes delivers on everything its premise hopes to achieve within the space of its four and half minute run time. The loss of a mother’s dependence pervades every frame of this emotional rollercoaster of animated work, and the director rarely shies away from this fact. For those simply looking for escapist fantasy, this film is not for you. But for those who harken to those moments of life when all that is important are those shared moments of familial togetherness than by all means take in this breathtaking work of cartoon art. Images of a child packing his/her suitcase, the train severing the umbilical cord of life, a baby crying for its mother to read it a bedtime story, all solidify this film as a thesis on the world that surrounds us and lost memories of innocence cherished. The isolation of crickets singing as the mother sits alone waiting for her young to return are metaphors that run true to reality. Such is the genius of this film, that without reliance on the human predicament it would have been just another animated short. Instead, Huxley imbues everything the director could hope to achieve with the medium and aligns it with the rest of humanity into a final product that is both real and fantastic. 

About Anthony Frisina 75 Articles
Anthony Frisina is a graduate of the City University of New York-Brooklyn College with a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Anthony went on to attend Brooklyn College's Film Academy and Writer's workshop program, achieving an interdisciplinary degree in Screenwriting and Film theory in the Fine Arts. Transforming his love for classic American cinema, Anthony went on to adapt a number of his own works into different mediums, including his well-received Western novel The Regulator. Anthony likes to spend his free time writing articles for magazines and periodicals that cover a wide range of topics, from science fiction to popular culture. As a screenwriter, Anthony has had his screenplays featured at numerous spec script writing competitions across the country where he one day hopes to write the next great American film.

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