By Neth Nom | Animation
A young man who struggles to overcome a broken heart finds himself lost in a mysterious land.

Finn and Natalie have walked together on the same path for years, sharing emotions, experiences and memories. But their time as a twosome comes to an end, stranding Finn in a mysterious land.

Scared about moving on, he soon forgets himself, but through self-discovery and overcoming challenges, Finn learns to create a new path forward.

Writer-director Neth Nom, along with producer Sara K. Sampson, helms a gorgeously emotional and enchanting animated short that captures both the startling pain of heartbreak and the opportunity it presents for growth and reinvention.

Working with a team of over 100 professional animators — Nom himself is an alum of Pixar, and many of his team also hailed from that animation powerhouse, as well as Blue Sky Studios and Electronic Arts — “Sonder” is a visually lush experience, a beautifully choreographed dance of colors, symbols and music that offers a rich feast for the senses.

The luminous visuals serve an emotionally resonant story that also digs into the experience of depression. As Finn makes his way through the forest, he shepherds along a blue flower that he and his former love planted together. The beauty makes us understand why this emblem of the past would be so hard to let go of — but as the story progresses, we also see how it holds Finn back. Finn needs to literally let go of the past in order to move forward.

Full of images that shimmer and dazzle, this short is clearly a beautifully crafted technical achievement, with a sense of enchantment similar to that found in fairy tales. But it’s also a powerful emotional exploration of difficult psychological terrain that is highly relatable and understandable to anyone who’s experienced heartbreak. Heartfelt and radiant, “Sonder” glows with hard-won emotional wisdom, with a memorable ending that is both sad, tender and cathartic all at once.

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