REVIEW: Out (A Pixar SparkShort)
Today, Disney+ released the Pixar SparkShort Out. The short film is based on a true story (told with fantasy elements).
The SparkShorts program has always been incredible at telling different stories through short form. Float tackled dealing with autism, Purl with the glass ceiling, Wind with immigration and so on. Out obviously deals with coming out to your family. “Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of SparkShorts”, says Lindsey Collins, VP of Development at Pixar Animation Studio.
Greg, a young gay man who is about to move, becomes panicked when his parents suddenly show up to help. Greg rushes his boyfriend out as he has not come out to his mom and dad yet, but Manuel urges him to tell them. Here is where the fantasy elements come in...at the beginning of the film, a magical dog and cat who come from the rainbow (get it) imbue Greg's dog Jim's collar the ability to switch places. Jim is now Greg and Greg is now Jim. Greg, as the dog, is left inside with his mother. He desperately tries to hide his picture with Manuel from her even going as far as to bite her. But, in a tender moment, the mom confesses to the dog that she wishes Greg would be more open with her. Greg realizes what he has to do and he manages to get the collar off Jim, thus changing places back.
I have to admit, I was a mess by the end of this short for many reasons. First, I think that director and writer Steven Hunter did a beautiful job in sharing assumably his personal story. This was a very sweet story told in fairy tale form complete with your classic happy ending. Even the art style with its lovely pastel or gouache look added to the fantasy feel of Out.
The other reason why I was a mess was because I really have to commend Disney for offering gay content this direct on its streaming service. I know they have had gay characters on their shows, including High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and Diary of a Future President, but this is the first time a complete story revolved around a gay character. It shows that Disney understands that gay content and family friendly content are not mutually exclusive.