Follow Your Heart

By Rob O'Neill | Animation
A young woman loses her 'heart', then learns to find herself.

Mary lives in a world where people's hearts live on the outside of their bodies and act like pets, which they love and bond with. These "hearts" reflect their owners, but they can also be easily lost in the fray of life.

When Mary suffers a romantic disappointment, her heart begins to languish, and both become despondent and lose their zest for life. In the lowest of her doldrums, Mary loses her heart, making life flat and dull.

But Mary begins to find her way back by reconnecting to life, and is soon reunited with the most valuable part of herself -- which too has been on its own journey, and in search of its own happy ending.

Director Rob O'Neill's charming, timeless animated short -- written by Michelle Cuevas and produced by Josh Ludmir -- takes advantage of the genre's ability to develop flights of fancy into deeply affecting and lovely storytelling, beguiling with unique detail while offering a lesson in emotional intelligence.

There is no dialogue in the short, but the solid writing nevertheless stands out, with a full character arc for Mary and a wealth of quirky detail that makes the world both recognizably ordinary and yet adorably fanciful. The idea of hearts living outside of the body as a kind of companion both offers a strong metaphor for emotions as well as a springboard for beautifully developed whimsy.

Everyone's "heart" is unique to them, with personalities both reflective and yet different from their owners, and the film has a lot of fun showing the diversity of people and hearts in this world. The cornerstone of the story, though, focuses on the central heroine and her heartbreak, pulling in viewers with each finely tuned epiphany and revelation.

The big draw, of course, is the striking animation, full of bright dynamic color and long, lively elongated lines and movement that tantalize and engage the eye. The details are charming and expressive, rewarding multiple viewings. When combined with well-paced storytelling and a terrific musical score -- courtesy of composer Thomas Faragher and featuring a track by singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams -- it's simply a pleasure to watch, both entertaining and resonant.

The ending of "Follow Your Heart" is almost inevitably happy, but it's a hard-won happiness borne of struggle, experience and time. Though it's full of vibrant color, funny moments and exists on a generally upbeat, cheerful register, there's still considerable emotional wisdom at its core -- and a charming reminder that our hearts perhaps know best what will offer true happiness, if we learn how to listen to what they have to communicate.

You Might Also Like:


By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I'm Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.