Movie & Television Show Reviews

Simple, Heartwarming | “Canvas” 2020 Netflix Short Film Review

Netflix is fairly good at promoting their original works, but every now and again, you’ll find a hidden gem tucked beneath its crowd-pleasing offerings. “Canvas”, a beautiful 9-minute short film by writer-director Frank E. Abney III. “Canvas” is Abney’s first director credit, as he’s a Pixar animator whose animation credits include the likes of “Coco,” “Incredibles 2”, “Toy Story 4,” “Onward,” and the upcoming “Soul.”

“Canvas” follows the story of a grandfather painter who has lost his inspiration to paint, having lost his wife. His daughter and granddaughter come to visit, and it is mainly through his interactions with his granddaughter and when he’s alone that we get to know the unnamed artist. The film fittingly feels like a Pixar short, and it conveys a wide spectrum of emotions, from grief to love to loneliness to reconciliation through its excellent animation and visual direction. Abney even makes use of its painting subject matter, as while most of the film is shot in beautifully rendered CGI, there are a few visually striking scenes that look like animated paintings.

One can only wonder why this wasn’t on Disney Plus, as while this is Abney’s first director credit, he clearly knows what he’s doing, and this feature feels right at home in Pixar’s short film library. Disney’s loss is Netflix’s gain.

There’s not much I can complain about in this short. It’s brief, to the point, and tells a touching, heartwarming story about a grandpa artists reconnecting with his art and family, and it looks gorgeous.

“Canvas” gets a 9/10

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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