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:

Feeling Through (Oscars)

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

Call Connect

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

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

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


By Christophe M. Saber | Comedy
A father slaps a disobedient child. Then a bystander threatens to report him for abuse.

The Landing

By Josh Tanner | Sci-Fi
A man uncovers the horrifying truth of what landed on his childhood farm.

Sometimes, I Think About Dying (Sundance)

By Stefanie Abel Horowitz | Drama
A woman thinks about dying. But a co-worker asks her out.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Sci-Fi
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A father is cut off from his son, then takes matters into his own hands...

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Lost and Found (Oscars)

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.


By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time-loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.

Garfield (Sundance)

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy.


By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man works in a food truck, across from a brothel with a girl who needs his help.

Long Branch

By Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart | Romance
A young woman finds a one-night stand. But he lives 2 hours away via public transit.

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.